Here are my thoughts for the “Back Page” of the Fishkill UMC Bulletin for this Sunday, 29 September 2019 (the 16th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C).
On January 20, 1960, John Kennedy stood before the American people and the world as the youngest President ever elected, His inaugural address put forth a vision for the future and also served as a rebuttal to those who thought that he was too young to serve as the President.
Earlier in the campaign, he addressed a gathering of pastors in Houston, Texas, who felt that his being a Roman Catholic denied him the right to serve as President. In this speech, he pointed out that no one asked for the faith or nationality of those who died at the Alamo in the fight to gain freedom for Texas.
There are also many who will recall how the elders in Jerusalem sat in wonder, awe, amazement, and probably fear as a 12-year-old boy explained the nuances of the Scriptures and the Law.
Our society today is a society governed by the elders of the society; mostly white men who seem to be out of touch with society and seek to only serve the desires, needs, and wants of a select few. They respond to the fears of the people and ignore the cries of the needy, the downtrodden, and the persecuted. Theirs is a god of money and power, not hope and salvation.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul warns against pursuing riches for the sake of riches, for one cannot take them with you when you die. He encourages Timothy to continue the walk with Jesus that they have shared. In the alternative Old Testament reading for this Sunday, the prophet Amos warns the rich and the elite that they will be the first to be taken into captivity and driven into exile; that their riches and exalted lifestyle will not save them in the coming days.
And Jesus notes that they will not have the chance to warn their friends in the later days because they did nothing in the present time.
A week ago, the youth of this country and this world spoke directly to the leaders of this country and this world. The future does not belong to the elders but to the youth. Why did Jeremiah speak of buying the land? It was not for now but for the future. Two thousand years ago, the elders of society heard the voice of a young boy teaching them. We know today that many of them ignored that young man; can we risk ignoring the voice of the youth of today?