The following sermon was written by the Rev. Amanda Currie and presented by Nicole Lindgren, David Ireland, Eva Anderson, and Allyssa deBruijn. Thank you to all the youth who led worship at St. Andrew’s on Sunday April 27, 2008 and shared their experience from the most recent Synod Youth weekend in Weyburn, SK.
One: Last weekend our theme for the Synod Youth Event was “Talk the Walk: Putting our Faith into Words.”
Two: As people of faith of all ages, it’s important for us to work on putting our faith into words. And it’s not easy for any of us.
Three: Presbyterians can often be pretty quiet and reserved about what we believe. We don’t want to offend anyone, so we stay quiet about our beliefs.
Four: And the result is that no one is offended by us, but no one hears anything from us about the Good News of God in Jesus Christ.
One: No one hears how much God loves us.
Two: We can show people God’s love by our actions though, can’t we? We can “walk the talk.”
Three: Yes. It’s really important that we show God’s love by our actions. But when people wonder why we love, or when they ask where we get the strength to love, we need to be able to tell them…
Four: … “It’s because God loved me first.”
One: We can’t just “walk the talk.” We also need to “talk the walk.”
Three: Learning to “talk the walk” doesn’t just benefit the people around us who will hear about God through our words. It’s also good for us.
Two: How’s it good for us? It sounds risky to start talking about God. What if people think I’m weird or preachy?
Three: Talking about God is good for us because it’s a great way to grow in faith. You don’t have to know all the answers. You just might want to start asking some questions.
Two: You mean, we should ask our friends what they believe, or what they value, or what they think is important in life?
Three: Sure, that’s a good place to start. Then you can start exploring how you would answer those same questions and how your call to follow Jesus fits into the picture.
Four: I wonder how many adult Christians have conversations like that with their friends.
One: I don’t know, but we get to talk about stuff like that at youth group, and at SYC. And as we get more confidence, some of us might even start conversations like that with our friends at school too.
Three: I can’t help but think about Timothy…
Two: Huh? What do you mean?
Three: Well, he was a young person like us, right?
Two: Yes, I guess he was.
Three: And Paul gave him a really important position in the early church to be a leader while Paul was away in other cities.
One: Even though he was young, Paul encouraged him to set an example for the other Christians by the things he said and the things he did.
Four: Timothy had the job of reading scripture in the church, just like many young people do in our Presbyterian churches today.
Three: But he was also a teacher in the church. God had given him the gift of putting his faith into words, and Paul encouraged him to use it.
One: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.” That’s what Paul told him. And with practice, I bet Timothy got better and better at telling people about God and Christ.
Two: Timothy was gifted though, wasn’t he? I can’t imagine many of us managing to do the things he did.
Three: Yes, Timothy was gifted. He had the gift of the Holy Spirit to help him to put his faith into words.
Four: We have the Spirit too, don’t we?
One: Of course we do! The Holy Spirit was poured out on the whole church at Pentecost.
Three: The Spirit gave them the ability to speak in all the languages of the world. They could speak to the people from every country and background in their own language. And they could tell about all the wonderful things God had done. And everyone could understand what they said.
Four: The Spirit will help us too, as we try to put our faith into words and tell others what we believe about God.
Two: What would you say if you had to describe God in one word?
Two: What would you say if you had to describe Jesus in one word?
Two: That’s three words!
One: Okay, EMMANUEL
Two: And what would you say to describe how your life is changed or impacted by your call to follow the way of Jesus?
Four: I know that I’m not alone.
Three: I feel a responsibility to care for the people around me.
One: I appreciate and want to care for the world God made.
Four: I have hope, even when things are tough.
Three: I want to give of myself. I want my life to make a difference.
One: I know that I am loved.
Two: Well, that’s what it means to “talk the walk.” It means putting into words what we believe about God and Christ, and speaking about what difference those beliefs make in our lives.
Three: May God help us all, young and old, to put our faith into words.
One: May our words point others to God.
Four: May our conversations deepen and strengthen our faith.
Two: And may our words bring glory to God.