October Message from Rev. Coplin
In continuing our series on living our faith on October 2, we explored the story of Timothy who was raised in the faith of his mother, Eunice and grandmother, Lois. Though we have no real way of
knowing if they anticipated the particular struggles that Timothy would face, Paul was confident that the sincere faith Lois and Eunice lived was now living in Timothy; that it would be sufficient to see him through. I presented this as a biblical model for a living faith. This faith has been handed down through the generations until it has come to live in us.
I am of the generation that sits between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials. On one side, I often hear rumblings of an inherited environmental and economical mess and resentment for being the first American generation who will not exceed or meet the standard of living that their parents had. As a result, we are witnessing a generation seeking after what it really means to live a meaningful life as the “American Dream” drifts further from reach. On the other side, I often hear complaints of continued societal disruption because of misguided values and aversion to hard work. And as a result, we witness their savings and financial security more and more at risk. And now there is an up-and-coming generation to which my own kids belong, who inherit a world that looks little like the world in which I grew up, a world filled with noise and confusion. Never before has a generation of people been so connected, never before has a generation been so isolated.
As far as I can tell, it has always been the place of the older generations (to whom I now belong) to say things like, “kids these days…” and, “back in my day we’d walk 10 miles to earn a quarter and might have to fight a bear or two on the way,” and so on. But kids these days face a set of circumstances that we could have never anticipated. And there is less of a Church presence to surround them and support them than we had back then. In the year since emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, most every pastor I know has focused on a return to normal, specifically, restoring worship attendance to pre-Covid levels. But what we are learning instead is that there has been a fundamental shift: attendance in the older generations has trended downward, yet, surprisingly, attendance in the younger generations seems to be trending up, for the time being. Perhaps it is just one of those “statistical irregularities” that are so common these days. But perhaps it has something to do with that desire for a meaningful life. Perhaps it has something to do with a desire for connection and belonging and knowing Truth.
There’s an old Greek proverb that says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” This is also the mark of a great church, a mark of living our
faith, of handing down a living faith for the generations that follow. By God’s grace. First United Methodist Church of Many has become a place where our youngest generation can gather and connect with one another and caring adults, and to know the God who loves them just as they are. As disciples, this is who we are called to be. I am so thankful to you who continue to support our ministry.
Grace and Peace,