FILTER BY:

Dear Young People…

This morning was a mind-wandering morning for me. The type where you have work that could be done but nothing urgent for the next few hours. I was enjoying the quiet stillness of my classroom, sipping my coffee, and deciding what to tackle first. Nothing was screaming pick me,” so I picked nothing in particular. Instead, I opened the bottom drawer of my desk and started rummaging through old files. I came across a file containing notes and letters from past students and parents encouraging and thanking me for my labors in the school. A moment of reminiscence, accompanied with a broad smile across my face and an increase in water in my eyes. I was uplifted by words written months and years ago, words written in sincere love and appreciation. What a richness that we experience when God pulls the thread of history to move people to write notes in days gone by and then loops us back again to reconsider them and go forward again! I was blessed anew by the same words used to encourage me in the past.  

Now it is my turn to encourage you and thank you for your labor in our churches and schools—a thank-you that is long overdue. I sincerely appreciate all the hard work you perform with your hands, your time, your energy, and your voices. I am aware of how busy your lives are with school, homework, jobs, catechism classes, chores at home, and the all-important quality time with friends and family. Your job” as a student is a work that requires you to take it home with you almost every night, to think about it and study throughout the week, and to keep the due dates and deadlines constantly before your minds. In addition to this all, I see your attendance, organization, and participation in singspirations, mass meetings, church fundraisers, choir and band concerts, as well as support attendance” of brothers and sisters’ concerts and activities. There is a strength and flexibility in youth that I both admire and am jealous of. 

The richness of the body of Christ is exemplified in the labors and activities of the young people. You often provide the energy and purpose that we as adults need. Many of the greatest joys in the life of the church are centered around our children and young people. Baptisms and professions of faith bring friends and families together from afar. Sunday school programs and concerts by young people quickly fill our pews from the front to the rear, and in that order. Choir and band programs become regular highlights—recorded, remembered, and sung to for weeks and months afterward. Graduation ceremonies gather us together in celebration and thanksgiving for the means the Lord has provided for the rearing and preparing of you for the next chapters in your lives. Our social calendars are joyfully filled because of your activity and your place within the body of our churches and schools.  

This is supposed to be a current events article, and in many ways it is. You, young person, are a vital component in the current events taking place within our churches and schools. For the past few years, you have been the silent witnesses watching and listening to everything being written and said. You have had your home, church, and school families disrupted without your input or consent. You too are being forged in the heat and pressure of conflict, being prepared to take up your place as leaders and professing members in the church. Much of this you have done without murmuring or complaining. You are in the wake, yet there is a serene stillness and acceptance by your generation that is comforting to me. Your dependence and trust in your fathers, mothers, and leaders in the church comes from your complete trust in the God who has created you, nurtured you, and provided for you every day of your lives. For this childlike trust I am thankful, for its simplicity and its witness to all the members of the body.     

I thank you and encourage you, not only individually, but together as the next generation of our churches and schools. The Lord has so willed for you to come into this life at this moment of history to continue to work together, to learn together, to sing together, and to worship together. You, young people, remind us all of the truth expressed in Lord’s Day 1 that we are not our own for we belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, both in life and in death. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1). May you continue to find your identity in him, in serving him, in brotherhood. I love you all for the blessed and active place the Lord has given you within his church.            

I thank God for all of you and for giving you the energy and strength that we all need to see and receive as a blessing. I’m thankful to be reminded of where we have come from and why the future of our churches and schools are so important. And at the moment, I’m thankful for your making the present a wonderfully warm, uplifting, and joyful reality. Our God is a faithful God, a covenant God; seeing you engaged in your work in the church and school reminds us of that daily. To him be all the glory and praise! 

Sincerely in love and appreciation for who you are in Christ, 

Mr. Van Uffelen 

 

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.”  Col. 3:23 

 

Scott is a member of Zion Protestant Reformed Church and a teacher at Covenant Christian High School.