Thursday, February 24, 2011

God Is Bigger!

Every generation has its defining moments. For The Greatest Generation, it is the Great Depression and World War II. The Boomers can tell you where they were the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Generation X experienced the rollercoaster ride of the 90s tech boom and bust.

The most recent generation to receive a name includes those born after 1977, and we are called “Millennials.” Along with my generation, I watched the Challenger explosion live on TV in my elementary classroom. In my last semester of college I emailed friends, making sure they were safe following 9/11. My generation entered the workforce soon after, and we now Facebook about the lack of economic, political or social certainty we’ve experienced in our adult lives. The Millennials, from our childhood forward, have been shaped by political division, a ten year war, and “The Great Recession.” While previous generations have felt betrayed by the institutions they once counted on and believed in, millennials, myself included, sense less institutional betrayal. Why trust institutions? Televangelists have always embezzled funds and cheated on their spouses. Pensions have always been insecure and jobs have always disappeared with little notice.

The lack of trust in institutions leaves some millennials to see faith as part of another irrelevant institution that deserves, at most, biannual attendance to appease grandma. However, this instability has created the opposite response in me. I don’t trust worldly institutions more than others of my generation, but the reality of our broken world leads me to put my trust in something BIGGER, something outside this realm, something that will never fail me. I believe GOD IS BIGGER. I can’t trust my 401 (k) will remain secure, that my government will act in our best interests, or that we won’t feel abandoned by corporations as they ship jobs overseas. But I can trust that my GOD will be faithful, because God is bigger than any fragile earthly institutions.

While each generation may have a different take on institutional instability, I believe one way to bring together fractured, hurt people is through Christ-centered intergenerational interactions. We can learn from the experiences of our brothers and sisters of every generation and strengthen our faith. When generations come together and live their lives believing in a faith outside this realm, we can demonstrate to the world the power and unfailing love of our God.

Like many congregations, Holy Trinity entered 2010 filled with uncertainty. The economic and financial realities of our nation have hit home in our formerly booming blue collar community. The impact of double digit unemployment is thick in the air and boarded up, foreclosed homes pepper our streets. But the uncertainty we faced was not as big as the certainty of our faith. Throughout the year, I have watched our congregation live out this faith during some painful and challenging times for Muncie and our country. It wasn’t through earth-shattering changes, but rather through the everyday ministries of the church acted upon by people of various generations. We showed GOD IS BIGGER as we provided food and a Vacation Bible School program for 40 children. The certainty of our faith was lived out as we continued to support 3 houses for homeless families despite the loss of previous outside funding sources. Members, from 4 years old to 90 years old came together as we fed 140 families with our Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets despite economic uncertainty. The needs of the community had never been greater. Earthly institutions have never been shakier. But our FAITH has never been stronger, because millennials, Gen X-ers, Boomers, and The Greatest Generation came together, knowing GOD IS BIGGER.

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