Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stones of Remembrance

Rites of passage are a dying practice in our culture.

Think about it: when does a person become an adult?

Is it an arbitrary age? I remember a professor in an adolescent psychology class going through the various ages in the United States to be considered adults:

At 13, you lose the discount at movie theaters and theme parks for being a "child." At 16, you can drive a car and get a job. At 17, you can see an R-rated movie by yourself. At 18, you can smoke, vote, and join the military. At 21, you can purchase and drink alcohol. And finally, at 25, you can rent a vehicle without financial penalty, as well as receive car insurance discounts.

Car rental is our ultimate cultural marker for adulthood?

Last weekend, eighteen young adults from my church took a ferry to Vancouver Island for a weekend adventure. This "grad trip" for the graduating high school class was full: camping and shopping in Coombs and looking for the goats on the roof; surfing, sunbathing, and exploring the beautiful beaches of Tofino; rafting the Stamp River; laughter and conversation and prayers.

Whether they want to or not, they're growing up. They're moving past childhood and journeying into the world of emerging adulthood. I had each of their adult leaders share words of wisdom and grace with them. Stacey shared about being rooted in their identity. Deb pointed them to the hope found in Christ alone. Mattias reminded them that the Gospel must be lived out and practiced, that belief is revealed in actions. Kyle admitted that doubts and questions are a healthy piece of one's faith journey, and to invite Christ into their questioning. I just wanted them to cling to the simple-yet-profound truth that God really loves them.

I want them to remember. Remember Christ. Remember grace. Remember mistakes. Remember victories. Remember their own journeys of faith. Remember the people who were valuable voices and advocates along the way.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, whenever a significant event occurred in the journeys of the Israelite people, they had a funny habit: they would make a pile of rocks. From hills of stones to altars to an ebenezer, they created a physical reminder of who God was and what He did for them in that moment.

So during our final rafting run down the river, I waded into the frigid water and pulled out eighteen stones from the riverbed. Upon these stones, we wrote the words "Grad Trip 2013."

Nothing fancy. Just some rocks with Sharpie marker on it.

I hope they become stones of remembrance.

Maybe the students will put the stone in a drawer somewhere. Maybe it'll sit on a shelf. Maybe it'll be lost under a bed or in a closet. Whatever the case, I hope they see it again some day and remember the God who gave them life and is lovingly leading them into adulthood.

Even if they'll have to wait until 25 to rent a car.
Grad Trip Jumping Pic.

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