I love days when plans go off without a hitch. When things just seem to mesh together amazingly and everyone does what they're supposed to do and everything moves like clockwork.
Unfortunately, today was not a day like that.
It started out pretty well. I mean, any day that begins with a good cup of coffee, reading the paper at the coffee shop and watching a little guy from the congregation having breakfast with his grandpa has to be a good day, right?
Well, I thought so, too. But after lunch, things didn't go quite as well. Now, don't get me wrong, they weren't terrible. But when you are the leader of a group of 50 Confirmation students and their adult leaders, and it's your job to get them fed, on a bus, and up to the convention center... and THEN back home withOUT losing even one of them... It can be a bit stressful.
It can get even more stressful when the pizza (that is supposed to show up at church at 3:15, so that the kids can eat it and be on the bus ready to go by 4:30) doesn't arrive until 4:05 because of an oversight by the restaurant.
But all things seemed to work out. We made it on the bus by 4:30. We got good seats at the convention center (at least better than last year when we were in the nose bleeds and the people on the stage looked about the size of those green army men I used to play with). We learned about youth homelessness, and how we have it within our power to end poverty and homelessness in Minnesota. And then we made it back onto the bus with 50 people, the same amount we arrived with, so we got all of our kids on the bus or swapped them out for new ones, and I haven't heard any complaints yet...
So even though it didn't turn out to be a clockwork smooth day, it was a good one nonetheless. I brought along my camera to take pictures of the kids enjoying themselves, but I didn't think to take very many pictures until on the way home on the bus. But then I got in trouble for distracting the bus driver with the flashes, so I had to put it away.
Some quick facts on youth homelessness in Minnesota:
Over 3,200 children and young people are homeless on any given night in Minnesota.
About 2,600 are younger children within homeless families.
About 500-600 are unaccompanied youth under the age of 18.
Half of all children and youth come from greater Minnesota (or as Twin Cities people say "out state."
thanks to Lutheran Social Services in Minnesota for that information.
The message that ran throughout the presentation this evening was that we, as Christians, are called to do something about homelessness. They brought up Matthew 25:34-40, where Jesus says "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
We are the Body of Christ and, as such, we are called to reach out and help our brothers and sisters. And, when we do that, we help Jesus himself.
I don't know if the young people were impacted at all, but I felt particularly spoken to this evening. There is no reason so many young people - or people in general - should not have a safe place to live and nutritious food to eat. We need to see the need in the world and do something about it - to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
So let's get started.