Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Mentor is Mentored

Today, I team mentored a couple of boys from our neighborhood -- boys we've baptized at Oaks.

I had a teaching task ahead of me today -- these kids, a few times, have barged in and out of the Eucharist, interrupted everyone else's worship, and demanded communion. So the mentoring goal today was to teach them that worship is about honoring God and being fed by Word and Sacrament -- not just about the bread and wine isolated from everything else.

I began by saying, "You guys are baptized. Why did you get baptized?" I steeled myself to hear, "So we can drink the wine" -- a common initial motivation for the kids who request baptism.

Instead, their responses humbled me. "To have God live in me." "To follow Jesus."

Then I asked them to describe what we do in worship. Their answers: Pray. Eat the bread and wine. Sing praise to Jesus (here they sang a spontaneous medley of about five worship songs we do, including the Sanctus). Hear the Bible stories.

And did they know the Bible story about the bread and wine? They did -- it's about when Jesus was about to die. "It's Jesus' blood, the wine." "The bread is his body." And they pulled out our comic book Bibles and opened right to the story of the crucifixion. We talked about what it meant to remember him. And the point I wanted to make? It was made.

But my little brothers in Christ taught me today. I learned another lesson in perseverance.

Discouragement is a constant temptation in the ministry at Oaks. We work very hard, and we don't often see what the Lord is doing in the hearts of our people. It is tempting to think we're not making a difference. But the Lord condescends to my weak faith, and he sometimes gives me a morning like this morning -- to show me he's done more in the hearts of these two boys than I could ask or imagine.

Who but God can say what's he's done in the hearts of his people?

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