September 15, 2010

To Fill Their Hope Sacks

TEN SUMMERS AGO I SPENT ABOUT AN HOUR LISTENING TO OTHER young adults in a convention hall room. They had just experienced a week of GC session meetings. All under 30, they met with Adventist Review staff for a discussion about their reactions to being official delegates, and their concerns and visions for the church in general. Each delegate had opinions that they expressed with vigor. Criticisms and suggestions were not in short supply.
Their frustration palpable, these delegates were passionate. And . . . dimly optimistic.
In their impassioned pleading—and their dogged determination to speak at all the business sessions they could—I saw a spark of hopefulness that things could change. That young adults could be heard, could be a real part of the church and its governance. If they needed to, most stated, they would fight their way into the system.
I empathized with my peers—and I wanted to fill them myself with hope that they could carry and dole out when times got tough.
This past June I spent an hour surrounded by young adults. In that hotel meeting room we talked about their first two days as official delegates to the GC session. Each delegate had opinions that they expressed with vigor. Yes, some were a bit frustrated with the church. And all had suggestions. But gratitude and hopefulness streamed out of each. They expected that their church would listen to them—and they’d be a part of finishing God’s work. No one felt as if they had to fight their way into the system; the system (albeit slowly) had let them in.
We concluded our session with hugs and high spirits. Knowing they are indebted to their predecessors, I pray the Lord fills their hope sacks—and keeps them full. 
Kimberly Luste Maran is young adult editor for the Adventist Review. This article was published September 16, 2010.