Seeking Shelter and Hope

For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God,
will come down from heaven,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left,
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

“You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shade of the Almighty,
Say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and fortress,
my God in whom I trust.’”

Psalm 91:1-2

Our students at Benedictine College have been active during the recent presidential campaign. They are attentive, speaking up and speaking out, in a most civil manner, I am pleased to report.

They are not silent.

They see change ahead, and realize they must be part of that change, especially when they complete their studies and move out into a murky, scary world. There will be hostility, and they will be resistance to their message off faith, hope, and love. But they will be there, speaking the truth.

Communicating with their predecessors, I pick up a bit “different vibe.” Those who graduated in the latter part of the 2000s are productive, they are active in their faith communities, but, they seem to have been “frozen”, almost at the point they left our protective “bubble.”

Being in the “bubble” is not inherently good or bad, and I am not making that judgement. Call it a sense that at least a portion of the age group in their mid to upper 20s, who excelled in their role and standing while a Benedictine College student, seem to have a challenge making their next steps in the larger world, especially in relationships.

There is a video on You Tube featuring a December 2019 interview from PBS with Johnathon Haidt, a social psychologist, who has been examining this phenomenon of social media and polarization. I have used it as a conversation starter with the Media and Society classes, but he addresses much larger cultural issues.

Dr. Haidt identifies enforced silence and intolerance of views, but he alludes to more at play in this issue.

The “mid 20s adults,” Gen Z as it’s identified, is so afraid of making a mistake, they have no confidence to be wrong, to ask for help.

So, what can you and I as “older” adults do?

We can reconnect with our young people still searching for an answer without understanding the questions they are afraid to ask. For some reason, their faith in themselves is shaken, or perhaps, not presenting positive direction.

Perhaps our greatest opportunity is to assure them, again, God’s love surrounds them, his faithfulness is never ending. He is here for your hopes, your fears, your dreams.

You are not alone. The shelter of his arms enfolds you, always.

Michael Throop