It’s just him and his mother now. His Dad died, suddenly, just before Christmas (Being church as opposed doing church). I’d just watched him carry the weight of his father on his shoulders.
Now beside him at the muddy grave I try to speak words of comfort through the rain to the mourners. The privilege of being part of his life is not lost on me. Here a member of our Youth Club wanted his family with him and that included three Salvation Army youth workers and me.
"Earth to earth" I stand alongside him, shoulder to shoulder looking into the grave, sharing an unforgettable moment as the thud of earth crashes down upon the love strewn roses on the coffin. "Dust to dust" I think how intensely spiritual this is. This is not ping pong, this is the hard earned, real stuff of relationship, the real stuff of sharing, the real stuff of journeying together; the real stuff being church.
I’ve grown tired of those that criticise our youth work as being secular. I’ve grown tired of those that criticise our youth work for being liberal. I’ve grown tired of those that criticise our youth work for not “evangelistic enough”. I’ve grown tired of those that quiz as to the discipleship content of our youth work.
I’ve grown tired of the narrowness of thought that is content to dilute grace and reduce mission to a means to an end. I’ll never grow tired of the privilege of being used to bring Christ of grace to our community.