We may not see it all, but something special is happening
Gints Graudiņš, a Young Reformer from Latvia, looks at the long-term effect of the Living Reformation projects by youth in LWF member churches across the world.
The New Testament is full of analogies that describe things that we cannot see with our eyes or even imagine their impact on our lives. Descriptions such as the nearness of the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God envision realities that are not of this world, and show the need for God’s intervention in our lives.
In Romans, the Apostle Paul writes that we are buried by baptism. He meant that just as Jesus was covered by the earth in his burial, we are covered by baptismal water. Paul speaks about the death of what he calls old me, old Adam, old me before faith in Jesus Christ and baptism.
As we have been baptized into Christ Jesus, we have been baptized into his death. Through baptism, we were therefore buried with him into death so that just as he was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:3-4)
The gospel renews, transforms and opens doors
In his address to the Global Young Reformers’ Network delegates at the international Workshop Wittenberg in August 2015, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge spoke about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ renews, transforms and opens doors for righteousness and justice in society. At the workshop, Young Reformers also launched their Living Reformation Projects to show how youth in the LWF member churches can be part of the renewal process in the churches, especially as we look forward to marking 500 years of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017.
God is using the youth so that through our projects, God’s grace can be revealed. We hope that our projects can empower young people in congregations and encourage others to take part in church life.
In Latvia, the second phase of the initiative "Empowerment of youth participation in the church" is the contribution of the Youth Center of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia to the LWF Living Reformation projects. The aim is to gradually involve more and more young people in the church by focusing on Bible teaching and encouraging the youth to participate in worship. We encourage them to be involved in activities such as learning musical instruments like the guitar and lead other young people in contemporary worship in their congregations.
God is using the youth
Although we may not yet see the impact of our actions, they pave the way to see God’s mercies and a glimpse of how spiritual intervention can affect how we live in our materialistic and mainly secular world. Through the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ everything changes. When we look at the LWF Youth Facebook we can see that something good is happening through the actions of young people as they carry out their respective projects in the churches and communities.
We are probably not seeing all of it now but God, who is always using people to carry out God’s work, is already doing something good in the name of Jesus Christ. God is using the youth so that through our projects, God’s grace can be revealed. We hope that our projects can empower young people in congregations and encourage others to take part in church life.
Excitement and challenge
Our work in Wittenberg last year was special and important: a group of 140 young people from more than 60 countries across the world. We came together after long flight hours, coped with the jet lag that followed as if it was tied to our backs, and shared in the excitement and challenge of lengthy brainstorming sessions, taking minutes, listening to speakers and so forth, as part of something greater as we step into this world.
As we continue our Living Reformation projects, we may not at first like what we see. But looking at the photos we are sharing, we can actually see that something special is already happening. It reminds me of the death of Jesus on the cross. That was something unbearable to watch. But after almost 2,000 years we see how special and important it was for our life today.
Gints Graudiņš is an evangelist in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (ELCL) and a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Young Reformers' Network. As coordinator of the ELCL Youth Center, his work involves youth ministry at different levels including leadership of activities and preaching.