Wednesday, December 28, 2005

quote of today

Much to Dustin's delight and surprise, the very next day I agreed to go with him and his youth group to a revival he'd been pestering me about for weeks. There were sermons, and giant video screens showing people witnessing and weeping, and a Christian rock star who wailed over some electric guitars about his love for Jesus while everyone swayed and clapped. There were hymns, and frequent altar calls, in which people made their way down the aisles to the stage and let the minister lay his hands on their heads and whisper something mysterious in their ears. They'd nod, their eyes closed, their faces suffused with joy. Through all this, I could feel Dustin watching me from his seat beside my own. "What did you think of that?" he'd ask, during every break after a sermon or a witnessing or a song. He'd search my face, hoping for a sign the songs and the video were working.

"It was okay." I'd shrug, even though my traitorous heart swelled and yearned when three hundred voices sang, "Nearer, My God, to Thee," and Dustin's face would collapse with disappointment. During the last altar call, I could feel his hope and excitement overwhelming him. He took my hand and squeezed it hard, and though I could feel his eyes trained on my face I wouldn't look at him. He wanted so badly for me to kneel in front of the stage. He wanted me to cry.
- The Myth of You and Me, Leah Stewart

Does this sound like anyone else's youth? I was definitely Dustin. I would take friends to youth rallies, hoping that the speaker would be able to tell them what I was too scared to. It was SO melodramatic, too. It was life-and-death if I couldn't get my friend to accept Christ THAT night. I would watch them, looking for a sign that they were ready to repent of their sins, to "turn or burn."

While I still believe that a choice to believe in Christ is a life-or-death decision, I also know that these things happen in their own time - God's time - and that I need to be praying for these friends of mine, not just taking them to youth rallies where they can hear a toned-down version of a hellfire and brimstone sermon.

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