So, I just have to say that I had some amazing moments at a birthday party today.
I was invited by the birthday boy...who was celebrating his 12th birthday.
I enjoyed getting to know his family as he played video games with a cousin. We enjoyed may snacks and homemade pizza (super delish). We laughed, I heard stories...then they realized I was the minister. Interesting questions from the Catholics, mostly about the call process and different names for things.
But the birthday boy, he didn't hold back. He asked what saints were...what elders were (in the Mormon church), he asked about what Jewish people believe...he asked what a prophet was....great questions....and in the middle of them all, he asked a question about what certain people's duties are, and then he laughed and said, 'duty' (followed by more laughing.) Grandpa said, what, I don't get it....we said, you're not a 12 year old boy.... heh, heh, duty :)
In the midst of it I told his mom and that's why I love your son....he is just a boy, whose mind is racing and growing...eager to learn and grow and be mature, but in the midst of it he's still just a kid.
And she loves that he asks questions and loves that the senior pastor and myself take time to answer each one of them.
On the way home I realized that's why I love middle schoolers. They are still young at heart and eager to play, but have these perplexing questions about life and faith and everything around them are eager to soak up as much as possible. How cool is it that I'm called into the lives and faith journeys of youth....I think it's pretty amazing.
It was also great because last night, after a fun gathering, a mom (of a 10 yr. old) was talking about reasons for not having her child do confirmation (when it's her time)...the top reason being....Sunday afternoon is family time. We didn't have time to unpack this as it was 9:30 on a Friday night...and the Pampered Chef party was winding down. But I couldn't stop thinking about it...until I fell asleep...and I think it fueled me on my run today, as well...huh...really? They attend church and Sunday School regularly....but this concern about losing 'family time' and that the kids can just join the church when they get older....and as I think about it more and more...I think, why wouldn't you want your child to share in that journey with others...with ones like the boy I spent the afternoon with today...to share and grow...and build relationships....and share your sense of family with other youth...
Ah...my mind will ponder, and there will be prayer and conversations with the senior pastor and the christian ed director....and we'll see what the future brings.
But I'm thankful for the moments today...and more of those moments where God breaks into the most unexpected places.
until next time...