Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Soldiers Of Christ Arise"1 (Lyrics)
A few weeks ago, an article appeared in the newspaper, entitled "Why GenXers Aren't Going Back to Church." You can imagine that there was a wide variety of reasons for people 41-56 years old.
Some were busy with work and kids. Others were empty nesters and ready to enjoy life. Several admitted that they had just gotten out of the habit since COVID-19. Then, there were those who had given up on the institutionalized church.
Rather than become defensive, I wonder: if they are not worshipping at the altar of Jesus Christ, where or what are they worshipping?
If they are attending a rock concert and worship a musician they love, or a sporting event where the athletes are glorified, it is doubtful that they will get much in the way of adoration or glory in return. Of course, the real danger with a false altar is that it can break the second commandment, "You shall not make for yourself an idol." (Exodus 20:4a NRSVA)
The same holds true if they worship at the altar of fame and fortune. This altar is not just about money or climbing ladders. It can be become self-destructive, for Jesus warns, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19a,21 NRSVA)
We know that idolatry and false worship have been around for ages. We also know that the altar of Jesus Christ is before us where, "the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth." (John 4:23a NRSVA)
The word "worship" is derived from the word "worth". When we worship at the altar of Jesus Christ, we are doing something worthwhile by providing ourselves with meaning, purpose, and direction.
The hour is now. It is time for us not only to invite a GenXer back to worship in Spirit and truth, but it is a higher calling for those of us who are willing to mentor this next generation. As mentors one-on-one, we can help to discern and sort through the conflicting cultural priorities, values, and views which tend to separate us from God and our biblical beliefs.
We need not simply be the "adult in the room", but we can also be mature adults who have a little wisdom under our belts and are willing to meet at a personal level. We can at least ask questions and encourage a conversation between the generations about what it might mean to follow Jesus. Also, it may be fair to ask what God expects of you, me, and our churches today, and how can we pray together for such an expectation to be realized. Such questions demonstrate the openness of the church to invite GenX seekers to the altar before us where we can worship together and experience the "peace of God, which surpasses all understanding." (Philippians 4:7a NRSVA)
Prayer: Almighty God, as we kneel before Your altar in Spirit and in truth, clothe us in Your Spirit and help us to reach out with hands and hearts of love to those who do not yet know You, so that all that we do may be to Your honour and glory in the name of Jesus. Amen.