Word Magazine January 1959 Page 10
YOUTH IN THE
By Father Alexander Curry — New Castle, Pa.
No one will deny the importance of the youth in the church, for as we look at our youth, we look at the future membership of our church, and just as the destiny of a Nation depends on the kind of men and women that constitutes its citizens, so does the destiny of our church depend on the training and teachings our youth receive in the church, so it is most important that our youth is given good spiritual training.
The character of a youth is first developed in the home. Here a child is first taught of God. Here is where the roots of a future Orthodox Christian take hold. What roots are desirable in our future church members, what must we do to train our future members? First, there must be moral discipline which comes from respect and regard for moral values and respect for the thoughts of others. There must be a sense of personal responsibility and obligation to God. Today there is an enormous pressure put on our youth to live and think only for the present, and enjoy life; but if our future church is to be strong we must establish strong Orthodox Christian roots in our Youth.
They must be taught the importance of Christian worship as their duty to our heavenly Father. They must be taught to attend church service regularly; and while there, they must be sincere in the worship of God. They must reverence the Lord’s house, and all the sacred and holy things therein, because God lives invisibly in His house.
They must also be taught to thank God for all the good things He has given them and to ask Him for help in everyday living; to give them health; to comfort their pains; to enlighten their way of thinking and living; to forgive their sins, and to give them power to become better Christians, so that our Holy Church will remain strong.
They should also participate in the Holy Sacraments regularly and with a pure heart. They should learn as youth to grow in stature and wisdom in harmony with God.
If we can instill these important things in the hearts and minds of our youth, we can look forward to a church with a glorious future, for the youth of today are the church of tomorrow, and as a tree is bent so will it grow.
It is tremendously important, that the youth of our church are allowed to be active members. It is the duty of all parents to see that their children are attending Sunday school and Church regularly and that they are active in all youth organizations.
Our Holy Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian church in the world, and as our forefathers preserved its teachings for us, so we must keep it strong for future generations by teaching our youth. I would like to quote a little poem which I think expresses the future. It is called
I saw tomorrow marching by
On little children’s feet.
Within their forms and faces real
Her prophecy complete.
I saw tomorrow look at me
From little children’s eyes,
And thought how carefully we’d watch
If we were really wise.
Yes, if we are wise we will recognize the importance of our youth in the church, and with God’s help guide them to serve in the glory of God.