Today is Ash Wednesday and it could not have arrived any sooner! I cannot remember a time in my life with I sensed my own personal need to turn away from myself and to reflect upon the cost that Jesus Christ paid for me and for all of the humankind. Most of my life has been a cultural dichotomy of living in the shadows of the Baby Boomer Generation who collectively changed the culture in America in virtually every way and of being a part of the Generation X who were eleven percent smaller than our parents’ Baby Boomer Generation.
Watching the cultural enormity of my parents’ generation took about twenty years to digest. At every stage of their lives, massive shifts have taken place from the hippy days of the late Sixties to the yuppy days of the mini-van-filled Eighties. I just watched it all with awe. Then around the age of twenty, I realized something else: We were eleven percent smaller than our preceding generation, due in large part to birth control and the legalization of abortion in the United States. The dramatic shift in our country’s culture left my Generation X with a completely diverse culture and a dramatically shifted demography. The result for me, personally was that things just came easily to Generation X-ers. The economy of scale meant the opportunities were immense and everyone wanted us to join them. The gulch in supply meant an increase in demand and we were the ones in demand.
Why those things matter when it comes to Ash Wednesday, you might ask. I cannot speak for the entire generation of people, but I can speak from my very Generation X experience that never before have people from the ages of 35 to 50 ever seen such dissent of ideology within their country. The closest thing we have ever experienced would include The Los Angeles Riots of 1991, Operation Desert Storm of 1992, and the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. All were huge, but never did the division run so deep. Never were our paradigms so different. Never did my Generation X feel so directionless.
Of course, this is just one person’s opinion, but I believe that we, The Church have something to say like we never have before. And yet, it is the exact same Lenten message The Church of Jesus Christ has spoken for millennia. That message is that of Galatians 2:20, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. So I live in the earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Young Harris UMC, the answer now for our society is the same now as it was then – None of this is ours. It is all God’s. This generation and every one of them before has to come to this Truth.
This 2017 Lenten Season. It is my prayer that we at Young Harris UMC give ourselves to the journey with Christ. May we let go of the world’s expectations and may we embrace the process while wanting for nothing except the Holy Spirit of God. Regardless of what generation to which you ascribe, remember that you are a member of the generation that believes not by sight, but believes by faith. The world needs Christ as much today as ever before.
Journey onward with God,