Tomorrow afternoon a young man who I have known most of his life and who is a member of the congregation where I am pastor, is appearing before a gathering of church leaders as the next step in the process towards his becoming an ordained Presbyterian pastor. I am excited for him. And I know it is an important and meaningful step for him and for his parents. And, while I will participate in the official part of the ceremony marking this next step in his journey, I wonder about the “church” he is preparing to serve and to lead. The only thing I know for sure is it will be very different from the church in which he grew up and even more different from the church in which I grew up. He and I have talked about that challenge and about what the future might hold.
Yet, here is what I find disconcerting and a bit unsettling.
Much of what will happen tomorrow will be in the framework of “church” which is rapidly fading away. We will use language and processes and expect a certain type of language in return which means something at least to some of us who will be present, but which means almost nothing to those with whom this young man will work and share his understanding of that which we know and name as God. While he will be surrounded by the support and encouragement and prayers of many, I wish we had the courage and the creativity to do more.