“But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children.”Deuteronomy 4:9
On the radio station I listen to while driving, I’ve heard a commercial several times this week that points parents to resources to help them have discussions with their kids about … well… s-e-x. It conveys the anxiety and nervousness that some parents feel about having this kind of conversation. It ends with a voice over of a youngster counseling adults essentially to “tell us what you want us to know and how you want us to behave.”
It was never our blessing to be parents, so I can’t speak from firsthand experience, but I’ve been around as my sisters and friends raised their kids and have seen them deal with all the issues that come with raising a family. With all the pressures from the secular world that bombard our children almost from their birth, it seems to me that being a parent today has to be one of the most challenging roles one can have.
As if talking with kids about sex, drugs, and alcohol isn’t enough, many parents underestimate the impact they have on the spiritual formation of their children, according to research done by the Barna Group, a well-known marketing research group that specializes in looking at spiritual and religious topics. Research they conducted for a book on parenting is reported to show that:
·A person's moral foundations are generally in place by the time they reach age nine.
·A majority of Americans make a lasting determination about the personal significance of Christ's death and resurrection by age 12.
·In most cases people's spiritual beliefs are formed by their pre-teens.
·In essence, what you believe by the time you are 13 is what you will die believing. Of course, there are many individuals who go through life-changing experiences in which their beliefs are altered, or instances in which a concentrated body of religious teaching changes one or more core beliefs. However, most people's minds are made up and they believe they know what they need to know spiritually by age 13.
Moses cautioned the Israelites to remember God’s commandments and to pass along that knowledge to their children and their children’s children. Sunday School can help! Registration for fall is open now. But the most important “Sunday School” children learn from is the one that takes place every day at home, in the discussions, prayers, and examples shared by older family members.
Peace to you!
Mary Beth Commisso
Bible Readings for the Week
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009 - Lectionary 22 - Pentecost 13
"As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace." Ephesians 6:15
I had just finished re-reading this excerpt of the letter of Paul and looked back at my email–and there was a message offering me "Top Rated Shoes–PLUS Free Shipping!!" Somehow, I doubt that I'd find shoes at their website that would make me ready to proclaim the gospel of peace!
Paul's letter describes how to dress properly in God's armor to be able to deal with the dark forces that would draw us away from God's love and path of goodness. We need to wrap up in truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the power of the Holy Spirit every day to stay strong in the face of the lures and temptations that assault us constantly. And to be sure you stay on God's path, don't leave home without your GPS–Gospel, Prayer, and Sacrament!
Mary Beth Commisso
Did you know that one of our JJJ youth, Alexandra Alam El Din, is attending the ELCA Youth Convocation at the Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis this week? Congratulations to Alex for being selected by the Synod to participate in this event!
MNYS youth representative at Churchwide AssemblyThe synod’s Child Youth and Family Committee chose Alexandra Alam El Din, member of Trinity, Brewster, to be the MNYS representative to the ELCA Youth Convocation, a leadership ministry that takes place alongside the Churchwide Assembly. Youth Convo participants observe plenary gatherings, hearings, and receptions as they engage in discussion about the issues and deliberations of the assembly. The goal of Youth Convo is to equip young disciples for broader understanding of, and deeper engagement in, our church’s missional deliberation and decision-making.
Readings for the weekThursday, August 20, 2009 Psalm 34:15-22 Joshua 22:1-9 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Friday, August 21, 2009 Psalm 34:15-22 Joshua 22:10-20 Romans 13:11-14
Saturday, August 22, 2009 Psalm 34:15-22 Joshua 22:21-34 Luke 11:5-13
Sunday, August 23, 2009 - Lectionary 21 - Pentecost 12 Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18 Psalm 34:15-22 Ephesians 6:10-20 John 6:56-69
Monday, August 24, 2009 Psalm 119:97-104 Nehemiah 9:1-15 Ephesians 5:21-6:9
Tuesday, August 25, 2009 Psalm 119:97-104 Nehemiah 9:16-31 Ephesians 6:21-24
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 Psalm 119:97-104 Isaiah 33:10-16 John 15:16-25
So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. John 6:53
Imagine not knowing too much about being a Christian, and having this Gospel be the one you hear on your first visit to church! This part of John's Gospel is one of the most discussed and disputed parts of scripture–in the early church, it led opponents to accuse Christians of cannibalism. Even more so when you learn that the word John uses that is translated as "eat" actually conveys more of a meaning of "to gnaw" or "to munch"–the kind of noisy eating an animal does when it is desperately hungry.
John is telling us that we shouldn't treat Jesus–who is our Bread of Life–as just a light snack. We need to dig in and feast on our faith! We shouldn't just turn to Jesus when we need a little nibble of extra help–the "food" we can supply for ourselves–relying solely on our own abilities–is just empty calories without Jesus by our side constantly. Without Jesus to enrich us and to strengthen us, our lives will starve and be thin. We need a steady diet from all the spiritual food groups–so spice up your life with prayer, reading and studying scripture, worship, service in Jesus' name, etc.
"Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you." 1 Kings 19:7
We took a little vacation last week and went to visit family in New Hampshire-it wasn't any cooler there than it was here! One humid afternoon, one person in our group was unusually quiet-he's generally the one who keeps conversations going-and was feeling weak. He has some health issues so we were concerned. After some questions, he realized that he hadn't had anything to drink since his morning coffee-and the heat of the day had caused him to start to become dehydrated. After several glasses of cool water and a seat closer to the fan, he started to perk up.
The angels tell Elijah that he needs to eat and drink to be strong enough to carry out the journey God has set for him. Caring for our physical selves with proper nourishment and staying hydrated is important-even being short just a few glasses of simple water can start to shut us down.
We need to feed our spirits, too. The feast of bread and wine and the word of God are set out for us. Come to the table and fill up, so you will have strength for your journey!