Summer Dreams - Rev. Jody Long
The summer draws rapidly to a close. School supplies are in abundance at the stores. New clothes bought for a new school year. Summer reading not finished; maybe not begun. Band camps, sport camps, orientations, and teacher meetings come faster than the pages of the calendar flip. And, yet, I’m happy.
Why happy? Summer’s ending brings a time of reflection and hopefulness.
At the end of each summer, I try to carve out time over a couple of weeks to reflect upon the past year in the Youth Ministry. Some years this is a painful process and I’m faced with ideas and programs that did not live up to expectations; other years, it’s a time of celebration for successes and new ideas that spur greater discipleship and commitment to Christ. In either case, I’m happy because this time allows me to dream.
This past year – especially this summer – was very good for the FBCX Youth Ministry. The first week of June found the high schoolers on Roy Ave. in Lynmore Estates in South Macon. We stayed “home” this summer for our mission trip. Staying nights at Southside Community Church and working during the day at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and in Lynmore Estates made us confront local poverty. The good folks of Lynmore Estates and Southside Church met us with open arms and warm hospitality. The good folks of Habitat for Humanity met us with hammers, nails, paint, 2x4s, and plywood so we could construct storage buildings for new Habitat homes. Building was the easy part; exploring the need for good, safe, affordable housing in our community required us to delve deeper into our souls.
For our middle schoolers, we’ve recently returned from PASSPORT Camp where we explored “Life Together,” taken from Dietrich Bonheoffer’s great writing on Christian Community. Traveling 5 ½ hours away from home, living in unfamiliar college dorms, sweating in the July sun, worshipping with friends old and new, and playing together reminded us that the Christian life cannot be lived alone. It takes all of us, with our own gifts, to make Christian community successful.
Memories are made throughout the year in our Youth Ministry and the other wonderful ministries of FBCX. As the summer closes, though, I turn my heart and eyes to the next pages of the calendar. I get a chance to dream about the future with the good youth and parents of FBCX and how they have the opportunity to change their world with the love and grace of Jesus. You, too, can share our dream. I hope you will.