In this Meditation, though what I wish to say is meant for our young people, I believe that it will have a message for the adults in the congregations as well. Today being Youth Sunday I would like to focus on the Duty of Youth. I therefore invite you to read the Book of Ecclesiastes 12: 1-8 as we start.
This book closes with this challenging call to the remembrance of God in youth. These are challenging days when we need to stop and reflect on life with its many difficulties and frustrations. You must begin now to make the best of youth through what it affords before the storms of life overtake you and all appetite for God vanishes.
I think that our young people have to understand that ; it is one long, but not endless discipline. To fear God therefore, and keep his commandments is the very essence of the divine discipline, and the only way to wisdom and immortality. Let young men and women remember their Creator in youth, and they will naturally continue to fear God and keep his commandments all through life, and when you die your spirit will return unto God who gave it. On the other hand, short preparation will not fit us for the long journey; we have to be properly prepared. Also please take note that the journey through life will be an empty dream, if you refuse to allow God’s guidance and direction.
Now personal experience has taught me that young people are what they always have been, that is young people. The constant factor of youth will always be youth. My involvement with youth, having taught in Government schools in St. Kitts and Anguilla (1962-68) and in Antigua (1980 - 2001) has also taught me that the youth on our various islands in the Caribbean, and across the world for that matter, feel the need of being wanted. This is a requirement of all human beings and young people are no different in their basic requirements globally. While it is true that youth is the time for trying of the wings, as it were, and doing their own thing, it is also a time when they want to know that there is a safe and welcome landing place. So it must ever be borne in mind that young people who develop a sense of not being wanted either in the home or in society at large, will surely soon find themselves in deep trouble. I would therefore hasten to say that parents, God-parents, Church and community begin to show greater interest in the training of our youth.
We are living in a most trying time in our history. It’s a time when rapid changes are taking place all around us. Moral and religious values are being challenged and the whole fabric of some societies is being destroyed by foreign patterns and cultures. This can best be summed up by saying that we are living in a entangled world-wide web – and I am not here talking about the Internet at all! I mean that we are in a crazed existence; we need balance.
Some years ago the British singing group called the Beatles put into words and music what must have been the expression of so many young people in England , the British Isles and around the world. They sang, “I’m a real nowhere man, sitting in my nowhere land, making all my nowhere plans.”
If the youth of today are going to make a significant contribution to our Church and to the communities in which they reside and serve, then they will have to develop some sense of purpose, direction and determination. Plan from now on to give God first place in your life, for only God can give you a new purpose for your life.
It is therefore my hope, and I trust that I speak for all in the Parish of St. George with St. Barnabas, that our children and youth will re-focus their thoughts on God and in this way be helped to strengthen their spiritual lives, and keep out of trouble.
Today we greet our youth and pray for success to all who are writing examinations.
With all good wishes and prayers Canon Val