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Advent Reflections: Indifferent Christians?

'night sky looking towards Orion' photo (c) 2008, kronerda - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

[Editor's note: This Advent season, Bread Blog will be running a series of reflections written by lay members of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.  This post is reprinted, with permission,  from the church's 2013 Advent Meditations booklet.]

By Adlai Amor

Lectionary reading:

Matthew 11:16-24                                                                                 

 “To what can I compare this generation?  They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn’” (Matthew 11:16-17).

Unfair though it may seem, the millennial generation came to mind when I started reading these verses. A 2012 study of 9 million people, born between 1982 and 200, concludes that millenials are “more civically and politically disengaged, more focused on materialistic values and less concerned about helping the larger community than Gen X (1962-1981) and Baby Boomers (1946-1961).”  In other words, they are stereotyped as selfish and indifferent.

You could apply these same attributes to the people Jesus speaks about in the Gospel of Matthew.  Expressing pastoral frustration, he rebuked the communities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because the residents of those cities did not repent after witnessing the miracles of Jesus.

More than 35 miracles performed by Jesus happened in this region of the Sea of Galilee.  Twelve miracles were reported in Capernaum alone, the town where Jesus had relocated.  He added that even the people of Sodom would have repented had they witnessed all of Jesus’ miracles.  They were like children who were never satisfied, no matter what Jesus did.  They were blasé about the miracles they had regularly witnessed.

During this Christmas season, it is worth asking ourselves: have we, like the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, become millennial Christians?

Fortunately, I have met hundreds of millennials who are not typical of their generation.  The response of many millennials to help in the relief and reconstruction efforts in the typhoon-ravaged islands in Central Philippines is a case in point.  Young people raised funds and packed relief goods to help people in a country that they have never visited. Many have joined missions to help rebuild homes and provide medical support as the reconstruction continues.

 Millennials have made – and can continue to make – a difference in our world.  In my work at Bread for the World, they have pushed us to do our work better, to use tools familiar to them, to work harder to end hunger – and be as driven as they are by their desire to love God and to live their faith in this troubled world. Instead of being deaf to the problems of this world, to Jesus’ teachings, they have repented and chosen to respond to God’s call.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to always love you with all our hearts, with all our soul, and with all our minds.  And help us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Amen

Adlai Amor is a member of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Washington, D.C., and director of communications at Bread for the World. 

 

« Why Are 1.3 Million Americans Losing Their Unemployment Benefits? Advent Reflections: What Is Your Intention? »

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