CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
Helen and I are trying to start a college student fellowship at our church. The Operation Friendship group was having a fundraising soup supper after worship one Sunday, so we invited students to be our guests. We would sit together, get acquainted. You can learn a lot about someone by questioning them about the meaning of life as they’re slurping soup. Seven agreed to break soup with us. We were delighted.
But an ice storm intervened. The soup lunch had to be postponed a week. I had to email the students to let them know. In the subject line, I put “No soup for you!” Then I remembered that these kids were not even born when “the soup Nazi” spoke that line on the Seinfeld TV show.
When talking about the ice storm, I referred to it as “Sunday morning, coming down.” Then I realized that Kris Kristofferson was the age of not of their grandparents but of their great-grandparents!
When I was a campus minister at IL State U, I invited Bishop Richard Raines to lead a retreat for our students. He had just retired, at age 70. That summer he learned to water ski. He had always wanted to, but had never had time. That seemed rather youthful. But he said, “You’d better invite someone younger. I live in the present generation, but the present generation does not live in me.” I insisted he come. He did. It was one of the best things I ever did for those students.
Now, though, I understand much better what he meant when he said, “I live in the present generation, but the present generation doesn’t live in me.”
This year’s frosh were born, give or take a year, in 1999. Granted, that’s in the last millennium, which makes it sound like a long time ago, but it’s also three years after I retired. The Soup Nazi and Kris Kristoferson are contemporaries of mine. They are ancient history to students today. I have nothing in common with this Snap Chat generation.
Except for one thing. As Paul Tournier said, “You are never too old or too young to give your life to Christ. After that, what else is there to do to get ready to die?”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get ready to be cool. The Sunday School kids at St. Mark’s are making a documentary film about “cool people at church” and are interviewing Helen and me this morning.