The Presbyterian Youth Triennium is happening this week at Purdue University. This is a premiere youth/young adult event for Presbyterians held every 3 years. I attended Triennium in 1983 and 1986 and remember being amazed by the people and events. I returned in 1998 to find the same amazing experiences encountering people and events for young persons in our church.
The theme “For Such a Time as This” is entirely appropriate as our denomination and our churches find themselves in a time of transition. Despite the lament that ours is a graying and dying church I am encouraged by the enthusiasm and energy of the young adults in our church. I was privileged to meet and get to know several young persons who were YAADs to General Assembly. They impressed me by their discipleship and their commitment to Jesus Christ. They were an incarnation of hope for the P.C.(U.S.A.)
Now its time for the 2010 Triennium and what a new time it is. When I attended in ’83, following Triennium meant you were sitting in the seat next to me or in the same room at the very least. Today, I can watch an energizer on YouTube. In ’86 I shared my pictures after returning home and dropping the film off at the local photo shop. Today, I looked at photo albums filled with pictures taken only hours ago. In ’98 I could call home on an awkward looking cell phone and tell you what I was seeing. Today I received 40 Tweets that shared what was happening at that very moment.
This is a time like no other and the young adults who participate in our churches are unlike any previous generation before them. They have experienced life in vastly different ways. They have matured in a time of mistrust and suspicion and seen it evident in politics and religion. They read the same Scriptures as their parents and grandparents but understand and interpret these precious words in a different way. They possess the ability to discern the truth but define truth in their unique way. They are our future, but they are also our present. We must listen to what they have to say. No, we must do more than listen, we must hear them when they speak.
Last night’s music included a sing-along version of “Don’t Stop Believing.” I only wish I had been there to hear 5000 young voices joined in a heavenly chorus. In such a time as this, may it be so!