Passing on our faith to the next generation is one of our highest callings. This is made very clear in several psalms, including Psalms 102 and 145, and especially Psalm 78.
Unfortunately, we Christians haven’t always done this well. Growing up at St. Mark’s, I realize that many children that grew up in our own church put their relationship with God on the back burner when they entered adulthood. What we’ve experienced in our congregation is common throughout the Church today though some Christian communities do better than others with generational transitions.
If we wish to follow the call to pass along our faith, as mentioned in Psalm 78, we need to spend more of our time and effort doing exactly that.
2 I will give instruction and explain the mystery of what happened long ago. 3 These are things we learned from our ancestors, 4and we will tell them to the next generation. We won’t keep secret the glorious deeds and the mighty miracles of the Lord.
5 God gave his Law to Jacob’s descendants, the people of Israel. And he told our ancestors to teach their children, 6 so that each new generation would know his Law and tell it to the next. 7 Then they would trust God and obey his teachings, without forgetting anything God had done. 8 They would be different from their ancestors, who were stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful to God. (Psalm 78:2-8)
Psalm 78 urges us to be sure that we are passing down authentic faith, that which “these are things we learned from our ancestors” (v.3). I think Psalm 78 also implies that we are not to confuse our worship methods and preferences with the faith we are to pass down. We’re to “tell them to the next generation. We won’t keep secret the glorious deeds and the mighty miracles of the Lord.” (v.4). This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are here to pass along our ways of doing church but rather we are to make sure that the next generation hears of God’s wonders, in whatever way we can effectively do so, even as we remain faithful to the essence of our faith.
Here at St. Mark’s, we are working together to find ways to reach the next generation with God’s message. As we currently offer several styles of worship, we also hope to discover new ways to reach our children, youth and young families with new ideas and methods in our educational offerings as well. It is our job to prepare the current generations to pass along their faith to the next generations yet to come. I’m sure like us, they will face challenges in the future as they work to continue to pass along their faith but I pray that we will always find new ways to tell the old, old story with vigor and genuineness.