Thursday, June 21, 2007

a little youthiness

Sorry for two posts in a row, although this does follow up somewhat on the previous. I had the youth last night for the first time. There aren't many of them--even less in the summer. Last night we had four, all boys. The bulk of the time we spent making bubblegum sculptures--which they loved, to the utter disgust of their parents. But I also decided that, rather than trying to make up some sort of devotion, I'd do Evening Prayer with them, and in the process introduce them to some of the benefits of praying something that you didn't come up with on the spot (i.e., the nonce prayer that nevertheless all sounds remarkably similar to me).

I don't think most of them cared. They squirmed through the whole thing, interrupted to ask what we were doing, lost their place, dozed off, etc. But, overall, I'm very glad I did it. It introduced them to something new, refreshed some things they'd heard before (like the Our Father and the Creed), and gave them the opportunity to ask some questions (which did, by the way, prove that they were paying a little attention) like, "Why are we talking about the catholic church? Don't they believe that you pay to get into heaven?" So amidst the dizzying conversation that followed--which still convinces me that these kids take in a lot more than you would expect--I dare to hope that at least three ideas came across: (1) "catholic" means universal, (2) Methodists don't believe in Purgatory, (3) catholics do not believe that you have to pay your way into heaven. I guess it's not a bad start, all things (gum sculptures) considered.

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