9:00 a.m. Family-Friendly Service + 10:00 a.m. Service


Weeping and Rejoicing (A Youth Update by Grant Glowiak)

Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep”

That verse is the backbone of our high school youth group. Every week we gather and share our ‘highs and lows’ from the past week, both the adults and the youth. We as the adult leaders model what it means to be honest and vulnerable, as we all together practice our story-telling skills. It doesn’t necessarily ‘look’ all that ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual,’ but the highs and lows we talk through often get to the heart of the Christian message, what it means to love God (that which is the Ultimate Good) and to love our neighbors.

Recently, we discussed how family dynamics can be complex, even messy at times. Without divulging too much, over the past several generations, and really up until the present, my (Grant’s) extended family dynamics have been…colorful. Interesting life decisions made by all, myself included. And a few weeks ago, I learned a new family story that was so outrageous, so uncouth, so something-not-to-be-proud-of, I had to share it with the group. Not as a low, but as a high! I couldn’t keep from laughing while telling this story. There was casual racism, some ugly political discussion, a funeral crashing (like crashing, aka showing up uninvited, to a wedding, except it’s a funeral), and some light legal action. Say what you want, at least we’re not boring 😊

Now, I didn’t necessarily have a concrete ‘agenda’ when I shared this. I wasn’t trying to elicit any particular reaction. I didn’t direct this story to anyone specifically. I was simply being me. So, I guess, if I had to name one, the agenda was ‘let’s be authentic because this is not a place of judgement.’

Later that week I received some feedback from a parent, mentioning the story. I initially was a bit embarrassed, as it didn’t paint my kin in the most appealing light. However, to my surprise, this parent wound up thanking me for sharing the story. It turns out their high schooler came home after the meeting and said something to the effect of ‘Guess what!? Grant’s family is crazy too!’

Did that youth meeting look ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’? Absolutely not. If anything, that story about my family was a textbook example of how Christians should not act in the world. Nonetheless, as followers of Jesus we are called to walk with each other through both the valleys and the peaks of life. No one can walk that path for you, I can’t climb your mountain nor you mine, but we can walk with one another. And, if we are honest with those around us about those valleys, about those low points in our lives, sometimes we realize that we’re not the only ones in a valley. Maybe someone has walked a similar path before and isn’t afraid to hear your story. Maybe someone has no idea what it’s like to experience what you’re living through, but they’re willing to listen and empathize because someone else did that for them. Or maybe someone has a wealth of experience, and can share some wisdom with you on how they made it through.

Maybe, just maybe, everyone’s family is a little bit crazy. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.