Let Love Lead
This week I am at Montreat N.C. with over 1000 teenagers who are celebrating their faith at one of the 6 summer Youth Conference held by the Montreat Conference. Montreat is one of the three conference centers of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Our little congregation is well represented by members and friends of LPC at this week’s conference. We have a group of 3 youth, one member of the work crew, and 4 small group leaders. It’s exciting.
Now one thing I notice about these young people celebrating their faith is that they are willing to struggle with their faith. They are anxious to learn about God and are willing to stretch their faith and let it grow. They seemingly embrace the struggle.
This is quite unlike some of us older folks (like me) who sometimes avoid struggle out of our fear. These young people actually lean into the struggle. They are willing to grow and then come out on the other side with an explosion of joy of thanksgiving for what they have discovered bout god and about themselves.
The theme for Montreat’s Summer youth conferences this year is LET LOVE LEAD…
Among the many things this theme encompasses the one I hope these young people remember above all is that they are loved unconditionally by God just as they are. That they are unrepeatable miracles. And that in fact God loves each of them as if they are the only one to love.
Of course, this is opposite of what the world tells them and us. The world screams that we are less than. That we must earn our value and worth somehow.
Christians however know that this is a lie. Of course. even Christians’ struggle to reject the false narratives placed in front of us and live according to the truth of God’s love for us.
This week our preacher reminded us of this using the words of Henri Nouwen who says the Three Lies of Identity are:
I am what I have
I am what I do
I am what other people say about me
However, the truth is this.
You and I no matter are age are beloved children of God.
That in life and death we belong to God. That God is always with us. Like a mother who does not forsake her nursing child or the father who runs to welcome the prodigal home with open arms - God loves us still.
And we are loved not because we are good BUT because God is good.
My prayer is that these young people and even those of us few years old will know this in our very soul - both this day and always.