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This summer, share your gift of faith

Bishop Carlye Hughes

Reflecting on a conversation with a dad who is concerned about nurturing his children to be good, healthy young adults, Bishop Hughes reminds us that we received the gift of faith because someone, somewhere, talked with us about their faith, and encourages us to look for opportunities to talk about faith with young people this summer. (Time: 5:00.)

Video Transcript

This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. We have been talking about growing the faith for about a year now, and it's really stayed on my mind as we finished up Confirmation season – I talked about this in the last blog post.

And I want to talk about it again today, in part, because I was remembering a conversation that I had with a dad in the diocese, a man who's very active in his church and also active in committees on the diocesan level, bringing ministry to things we do here, across churches, not just in one church. Incredibly faithful, thinks a lot about what he hears in how sermons in Scripture match up with what he sees in life, prays for people, wonders about how he can help, how he can make things better.

And he talked with me last spring, primarily because he was worried about his children. And not worried that anything was going wrong, but worried that time was passing so quickly, they were in that tween-teen stage. And that life was moving so fast, and they were changing so fast, and he was afraid he was going to miss it. And it wasn't just about missing all the changes, but realizing he didn't want to miss the opportunity to help shape and nurture and grow them into good, healthy young adults. I don't know that at the top of his list, he was thinking, I'm gonna form really faithful young people in my children. But the reality is, he's a very faithful man. So if he's helping to shape them as who they're going to be as people, chances are, he's going to be shaping them to be faithful because he is faithful.

And that's exactly why this happened. I know this because this dad wrote me a note lately, recently, in it telling me about a sermon that he and his child had listened to. And they were talking about something associated, a related topic. And his child said to him, "But Dad, didn't you hear what was in the sermon! This is how we're supposed to work through these things." And he, anyway, he wrote me to say how, what a humbling and wonderful experience it was to realize that his child was trying to school him – and as a matter of fact, did teach him something about the sermon in Scripture that particular day.

This is what growing faith looks like. All of us, at some point, there was someone like that dad, and it may not have been a parent, it may have been a friend, it may have been a Sunday school teacher, it may have been an aunt or an uncle. It may have been a godparent, it may have been a teacher in school, it may have been somebody, somewhere that had no children, even. But somebody who talked with us about faith, whether it was kind of working through something, how to make sense of it, or explaining to us that we were loved by God and created by God, and that we're fantastic exactly as we are, because God didn't make a mistake in the way that we were created. It was somebody who explained Jesus to us. And if you're an Episcopalian, it was somebody who shows you how to use the prayer book, and how to hold your hands to receive Communion. And explained that that wonderful feeling that happens when you receive Jesus, whether it's in a prayer or in a song, or in a conversation, or when you receive Communion. But that wonderful feeling of having your heart so full of love is one that you're not ever meant to be without. All of this is what growing faith looks like.

Now, listen to me. Someone did that for each of us. At some point in our lives, someone did that for us, and we were given the gift of faith. That person handed off faith to us, and God gave it to us through that person. And each of us has the opportunity to now hand that faith to someone else.

We're on the brink of summer. And you are going to be around all kinds of people and many of them will be young, whether they're your children, or grandchildren, or nieces or nephews, or friends of kids or kids of friends. You are going to be around young people this summer. Look for those opportunities. Talk about the complicated things. Don't run away from them. Encourage them to know that they are beloved by God as well as beloved by you.

You've got the gift of faith. Turn around and share it with someone else. Grow the faith this summer.

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