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The Significance of Faith – A Youth Sermon

Radically Changed...

...was the theme for the 2012 – 2013 program year for Westminster youth in grades 7 – 12 and for the amazing Youth Sunday on February 24. Youth Sunday featured sermons by WPC high school seniors Callie B., Meredith H., Marisa K., Ryan K., and Shelly S. Each person’s message was created individually, with a little editing assistance from Church Educator Susan Moseley. All five seniors have been active in 180° since middle school.

Sermon by 180° Senior Ryan K.

What would it be like if everyone in the world was Christian? If everyone could agree on religion and have faith in the same moral code? Imagine how much more peaceful and simple everything would be. As an eight-year-old at Westminster Presbyterian, coming to church each Sunday was something I assumed everyone did. All of my friends were Christian, and all of my family was Christian. The idea that somebody might not believe what I did just never occurred to me.

I went on happily ignorant in this way until one day in seventh grade one of the schoolteachers accidentally asked the class if they believed in God. The answer from the class shocked me. Not only were many students adamant in their disbelief of God, but also many were disturbed and frustrated by the world’s injustice for which they blamed God. In the midst of the atheist majority, many of the other kids began making excuses for their religion, saying they only went to church because their parents made them. I was shocked and silent. The illusion had shattered, and I was left to reflect on the reality of real conflict in the world.

That isn’t to say that I doubted my own faith for one second. I may have been confused, but it wasn’t about my faith. I was grappling with the significance of faith instead. When I got home that day from school, I had a long talk with my parents about the meaning of religion and its importance in our lives. We talked about what it meant for people to have different points of view and whether that was right or wrong.

Westminster Presbyterian provided the foundation for my faith, and until that moment I had taken it for granted. After that day in the seventh grade, I realized that there were people without that inner support encouraging them on. I realized that there were people like my classmates who didn’t get the joy of knowing that God loves them while I was privileged to live with that every day.

Although it shook me to realize how many people were missing what I had, it didn’t diminish its importance. Instead, I decided to show people how great it is to belong to a church and believe in Jesus. I engaged in polite discussions with atheist groups at my school and began doing church youth mission trips to spread the message of Christianity and its community. I am radically changed. I don’t want to be like those seventh-grade students who made excuses. I don’t want to live out my faith in private. Now I have a greater respect for the Christian faith and want to share it.

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