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Youth Sermon for Sunday January 18


Youth Sunday, January 18, 2015. Sermon by Jocelyn Matheny, representing the Cedar Cross Youth Group

When I first began planning this out, what kind of message I wanted to deliver, my main point was going to be Curiosity. I was going to talk about how we as followers of Christ should be curious and want to learn more about the stories of the bible and more about our traditions of our religion. Then a friend pointed out to me that “Curiosity killed the cat.” I quickly replied “if the cat believes he shall not perish, but have everlasting life!”

However I struggled a little bit to come up with some examples, such as a movie or TV show to relate the message to (like Pastor Jim usually does). Then I found something closer to my heart that I felt would be more beneficial.

First, I would like to ask you all a question: If you were standing on the top of a cliff, what would you do?  Would close your eyes and wait for whatever is going to happen to happen?  Would you take notice of the skyline and beautiful view around you?  Would you jump?

Personally I can tell you I would get right up to the edge, tell myself I am going to jump…. Then step back and put it off for a bit longer.

This was asked of me, along with a series of other questions at one of the Youth Retreats in a small group session. This particular question, and our answer to it, is a metaphor, for a situation of change, and how we each handle it.  Whether we embrace change, close our eyes and blindly accept it, or try our hardest to avoid it, We all deal with changes in our lives. And it can be scary.

Lately I have learned and talked a lot about change. On the Beta Vitality Committee, we discuss change within the church, and being a senior in high school, I am about to face plenty of changes.

During the holidays, all the college students came home. And many of the people who just graduated from my school last year came back to see old teachers and friends. I was saddened to notice that the conversations with these returning friends mostly consisted of “Oh my goodness, you’re here! I’ve missed you, and how’s school going” When once upon a time we could have spent hours talking about anything under the sun.

While walking down the hallway to my 5th period pre-calculus class, After visiting with two girls that had come back to school, My friend Sydney stopped me and asked “Was it just me or did that conversation make you feel really awkward?  I replied “I guess a little”  Syd: “ It’s crazy to think that we have been here doing the same old same old day after day, and at exactly the same time people are in other states living completely different lives.”

“It’s like there is no connection anymore.”

This is one of my greatest fears.

The loss of connection.

One thing that I hope people notice about me is that I love People! And I love the relationships I have with people, with my friends at school, my family, with my teammates from softball and soccer, with my teachers and coaches, and especially with the wonderful people sitting in this room. I am fully aware that when I go to college all of these relationships will change. I will not have as many opportunities to see and hear from my people as I would like.

I would think it is safe to say that losing people that we love is something everyone is afraid of. Elderly loved ones pass away, Cancer has claimed the lives of many young and old, Friends move away, Parents become empty nesters. There are so many ways and reasons that a person may no longer be a part of our life and many times, we do not have any control or any way to hang on. And People are so important!!! This is something we must remember. Often when we go through a big experience in life, a positive or negative one, it wakes us up and reminds us to take another look at the people around us and truly care for them. There is something magical about connecting with another human that is like nothing else. It can be felt when you have one the best conversation with friends or even when you share a smile with a passing stranger.

People are something I and value and cherish more than anything! And when I think of losing them I get very overwhelmed. It was a very short time ago when I thought about the fact that this is my last year as a youth, which means no more youth Sunday school, or youth retreats, or youth group which are all events and activities that I love….. But the tears came when I thought “What am I going to do without Geoff and Katie?!?” God only knows. These two are a couple of my favorite people and have made a huge impact in my life. With that being said, there are a lot more people who I hold close to me as well,  and many of them I met right here at Cedar Cross.

All of the persons surrounding me know, yes all off you, I consider family. And this place, this small brown building tucked underneath the evergreen tress of the beautiful northwest, this place where we come to gather and worship, the place where we join hands and embrace the holy spirit in our song, this place where so many memories have been made, This Is My Home. This is where I come from. Some may call it my roots.  I can only hope that the words of Have yourself a merry little Christmas are true, that “through the years we all will be together, if the fates align.”

So in my breakdown moment, in the fear of losing the ones I loved,

I remembered a scene from my favorite movie, “Forrest Gump.” Jenny is young and she is very scared. Jenny takes Forrest and runs away into the corn field. “Pray with me Forrest pray with me!” she pleads.  And together, kneelt down between the rows of corn, they pray. “Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far far away from here.”    She repeats her line like she has prayed it a thousand times, and Forrest joins in.

Not only does little Jenny look so precious in this moment, but you can tell she is fully and completely in the moment. She wishes and prays with her whole heart, which is both touching and powerful. I wished I had some type of meaningful prayer like she did. So I decided to make up my own.

Lord Make Me a Tree, and Allow My Branches to Grow, But Let Me Always Be Comfortable in My Roots.

This is something I desire for all of us. I want that we always move forward with our lives, and grow and change as people and have new experiences. But I also want that as we grow and change, we still have good relationships, still remember where we come from.  And I wish that we do not fear and not feel that we miss and long for old connections. Because they can always be reconnected. Especially here in this place, where we always have open doors, open minds and open hearts.

Jocelyn Matheny

January 18 2015

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