This one is going to be a ramble, and we'll see where we get taken because after many, many tries I couldn't find the topic on my own.
Why is it that so many hopes end in a whimper and not a bang? Over the last few days there's been a 'prophetic summit' in another part of the country. I held out such great hopes for it, but very little has been released about it online yet. I started watching a video clip and found lots of thank you's, a collection of offerings and a bit of an altar call, and no sense of where the rest of the hour plus long video clip is going. So until I find both the time and the patience to watch the rest of it, it will be in the 'yet another disappointment' category.
But at gatherings like those are where our missing generations are. There's very rarely a grey hair among them, while there's very little health and vigour among us – just lots of wisdom, experience and well tested commitment. How could two such disparate groups come together without imploding or exploding disastrously? We know that God loves both groups, and unless there are partitions in heaven, they are going to have to coexist there somehow. Obviously God has a plan to keep harmony in His heavenly realm, so theoretically there is a practical solution that will work on this side of eternity too.
It is something that we need to work for and to pray for. It is not good for either group to be without the balance that the other group would give, despite how rocky the road to unity might be.
We must believe that our octogenarians and our nonagenarians are extraordinarily precious in God's sight, and that's He's not finished with them yet, and that they have a vital role to play in what God is bringing to birth in our era. They are the ones who have prayed and wept as they have seen children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews decide to live as if God doesn't exist. If there is to be a massive harvest of souls, these are the ones who have prayed the price for it. Why must it be that those who sow in tears rarely get to see the harvest they worked so long and hard for with? Without these holy elderly ones and their prayers and sufferings our world would be much worse than it is. They are the ones who have kept the lamps burning and the lights on so that when the great return begins, there is something to return to.
This brings me to the modern generation of mums and dads. I will be unexpectedly facing a small cohort of them in two days' time. By and large we don't see them worship with us, but there's still just enough faith for them to bring their children to be prepared for the sacraments of initiation or – more likely - as an 'insurance policy' to get their children into faith based schools. These parents have been entrusted by God with these school aged youngsters, and He certainly expects them to be the prime teachers of faith in Him to these little ones. Sadly the children tend to get taught by parental example that sport and extracurricular things like dance classes and martial arts, as well as financial and social success are far more important than the things of the soul and the things of eternity.
How do we reach both parents and children? What can crowbar open their hearts to let the remembrance of God in with enough power to transform behaviour and morals? Only the Holy Spirit is capable of such a feat. Just diligent praying isn't enough. Sadly the most fruit I have seen is an occasional parent return once to the confessional, but never be seen again after the preparation classes are over or after the child reaches high school.
For this too God must have a solution if we pray and work for it. He alone knows what will unlock their hearts to Him, and we must seek Him for those solutions and strategies.
I do know that it is hard to deal with the anger resulting from so much wasted effort for so little reward and even less gratitude. Sometimes it feels like a swarm of locusts come to eat whatever they can find and then leave. We have so few able bodied faith-filled people to lead these sacramental preparation classes, and as you can guess the gradual demoralisation of these good people at the paucity of response to these magnificent sacraments of God is an ongoing tragedy.
May He who has the effective solutions to these two big troubles of our age rise up and come to our aid! May He come swiftly and reply. May He put to flight and crumble all of the barriers the enemy has set up over the years. May we see Him work in power in this season and begin the great return of the prodigals. Amen.