Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Do please get in touch and tell me what's striking you from the Bible in Lockdown (and praise God if you're already totally out of Lockdown). One of the passages that I keep returning to is Matthew 11.7-10. I'd never really thought about it before Lockdown but these verses keep coming to mind and especially v.7 where Jesus turns to the people and says, "What did you go to see John the Baptist for?" Here's the passage:
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’
It's that thought 'What did you go for?' that strikes me in Lockdown as groups have continued online. Zoom Fatigue is kicking in and young people must be thinking, 'Is it worth coming? It's not like it was before. We can't play games like we could. We can't hug like we did. We don't get doughnuts (or whatever your snack of choice is).' And it feels to me that in this moment, Jesus turns to us as leaders and to our young people and says, 'What did you go to the youth group for?' And he waits for an answer. He could push it further:
Did you go to see your friends?
Did you go for the vibe?
Did you for the food?
Did you go for the wacky games?
Or did you go because, in some way, St. Elsewhere-by-the-Marsh, like John the Baptist, pointed you to me?
When it's hard organising another Zoom meeting with slightly fewer people than last week, and I'm exhausted and thinking: 'Is it worth it?' I hear Jesus say, 'What did you go for?' And I pray that our online teaching, discussion, Bible study, sung worship, prayer, games and fellowship (weird though that is) somehow point people who come towards the love and faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
Dave Thornton is author of 'Raising the Bar: Nearly everything you need to know about Christian youth ministry'. Buy the book here.