Thursday, March 27, 2014

Keeping It Real

              This month many of our area UMC ministers have been having confirmation classes for our young people. It has been such a blessing to us as because we have a lively, intelligent class of 26 kids going through this process of confirming their faith.
                If you are like me with no kids at home and over 40, you may have noticed that today’s young people are speaking a different language. Not only that, but that language changes every month or two. I stay behind the learning curve. Just this week I heard a few new terms, one of them was the encouragement to keep it real.
                The person who was using the lingo was a youth leader from one of the churches. And this guy was on the mark; OMG, too legit to handle. The man was totally fly in regards to teen lingo…I mean he could requestion better than anybody I ever heard, all the while chillaxing and fist-bumpin’ with the mix. I was totally wowed how he kept the haters lovin’ and the bouncers from bouncing.
                So I asked Mr. Fly, “What does it mean when you say keep it real”? He explained to me what term meant to the youth.  I was intrigued how even today, our life in Christ is all about keeping it real.
                I got from him that to keep it real means to live with integrity, maintaining honesty, and being able to live a life that keeps oneself from living a life of fantasy and make believe. 
                Confirmation in our church is one of the first places in a young person’s life when they come to grips with their personal (not mom’s or dad’s) life of faith, and how they will live it.
                Jesus was a keep-it-real teacher and preacher. In fact, his life embodied that idea. He was always shoving the make-believe world, which people thought they should live in, to the sidelines. He said things like:

“Do not judge, so that you will not be judged” (Matt 7:1).
“If you want to be perfect, go sell all you have, give to the poor and follow me (Matt 5:44).
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44).
                You can tell when somebody is keeping it real because, it causes people to respond like, “What?!....Don’t judge?! Love and pray for my enemies?! Sell my stuff and give it all to the poor?! Are you serious?”
People said the same things in the 1st century to Jesus, using different words of course, but the sentiments were the same. The Pharisees made it their life’s work to act as judges. The Romans thought killing enemies was how a ruling power kept the peace and increased territory. The rich spent their time building bigger storage units (barns).
                For keeping it real Jesus also heard the people shout, “Crucify Him.” And that is what happened.
                During confirmation, part of what the young people study is basically what it means to live a life of faith, following Jesus, and being part of our community of believers (the UMC). It is important that they also understand that such a life is a choice they make. We hope to teach them that the life of faith will not always be easy, is not make-believe, and is most definitely real.
                We ministers and teachers walk a fine line sometimes. We want to make the life of faith attractive by telling of the blessings, the peace, and the hope found in Christ, while at the same time identifying the suffering, the restlessness, and the confusion that is also part of our life of faith.
                The good news is: God is there with us through all of our life, helping us to keep it real, even in the face of everything that comes our way. God never ceases to love us, pour out mercy upon us, forgive us, save us and strengthen us when we are weak.
                Join me this month in praying for all confirmands. These young people are soon coming to times of decision, ones which will set the course of their lives. Pray for them to have courage, boldness, and wisdom so that they will be able to keep it real for themselves.

© 2014 Judy H. Eurey

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Awesome message. I will pray for them!