I love working with young people, they have influenced my life and contributed to my own personal faith in so many ways. I have heard many profound things from the mouths of the young people I have encountered in my time of ministry, but occasionally those words said are too beautiful and moving not too share with.
This week at Castlerigg we have had the wonderful privilege of working with St Ambrose School from Coatbridge (near Glasgow), and it was during our final few hours together, and during the celebration of the Mass, that one young man called Joseph shared his thoughts on the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23).
He and his small group stood up to share the art work they had done to represent the Gospel for that day. He had in his hands a small exercise book in which he had written some notes on how he interpreted the scripture, and it’s this I’d like to share with you.
‘The parable is not about seeds, it is about faith and the word of God. A more understandable way to put it would be the way people receive the word of God is like walking. Some people try to walk but give up immediately, some people want to walk but they soon get tired and they give up. Others pick up the pace but fall back suddenly and completely stop…. But some walk until the very end, never faltering, never wavering, and they complete the walk until the end’.
Joseph, age 13 – St Ambrose, Coatbridge.
His understanding of what our lives were made for and how our humanness can stop us reaching our fullness in Christ is why I do what I do. It affirms that the time and effort we put in sowing endless seeds pays off, and sometimes we are blessed enough to see some of the fruit in ways like Joseph, who so bravely and unreservedly shared his faith with his peers, teachers and the Castlerigg staff, sowing his own seeds of faith. It has given me great hope for the future of our church. Young people like Joseph will continue to share the gospel, but in the meantime we must continue to be brave and unwavering like Joseph, and proclaim with conviction and no hesitation the ultimate purpose of our lives.