How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

This weekend we will be talking about one of Jesus’ more troubling parables. It is the story of “Lazarus at the Gate” and it packs a wicked punch. At its heart is a message Jesus desperately wants us to hear: we need to pay attention to those we want to ignore. Now.

In this case, he is not speaking about political ideology or even religious doctrine. Christ is getting at the very center of his calling: people are hurting and it is up to us to actually do something about it.

There are many groups we would rather ignore in our world. But one group we humans have intentionally censured since time immemorial is young people.

It is true that we do not necessarily treat them as we would the poor, the dying, the sick, the imprisoned, the naked, the thirsty, the hungry, the lost, the forgotten – all of whom we so often kick to the curb. However, the similarity between all those groups and young people is this: we tell them their voices don’t matter.

But consider this:

  • Anne Frank was only sixteen when she wrote her famous diary
  • Louis Braille created the all-important language for the blind by the age of fifteen
  • Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work championing women’s education at age sixteen, having already survived being shot in the head by the Taliban
  • Joan of Arc lead an army into battle at sixteen
  • Ruby Bridges helped lead the fight of desegregation in the American South at the age of six

My point is that though we may tell all of these groups that they have no say, they are still children of God. They have voices instilled by our very same Creator. And they have the same fighting Spirit as Jesus did on the day he cleared the temple.

Eventually, though we may not want to hear it, truth will out. And the change young people, poor people, imprisoned people, people who have been discriminated against, and so many other people have been pushing to see others stop getting hurt – that change will eventually win.

So here is what we adults need to remember in all of this: who are we intentionally ignoring? Are we choosing to stand with people being hurt or against them (because we all know which side Jesus chose)? And most important of all, we need to remember that there is absolutely no reason why we can’t join in the many struggles occurring all around us to improve the world.

Pick one that speaks to your heart. Then follow our young people and join the fray.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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