Family Ministries Blog

All Saints' Episcopal Church in Lakeland, Florida provides this forum as an exploration of family life with an emphasis on parenting, children, and teens. We hope that you will join our conversation and visit our children & youth ministries.

What Does God Expect?

It is the day after the election and I find myself thinking, "Now what?" There is always so much build up to the American political process that it is difficult to ignore the post-election emotions, no matter which way one voted or which candidate won. I find that I need to simply keep on praying that God's will be done no matter who is or isn't elected to office. No political leader or party is perfectly aligned with God's purposes, so we all do the best we can as we vote.

Thankfully, as Christians we have our hope in God the Father, Jesus as our Savior, and the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and guide. It is this very point that I want our young people to know. I want them to take away from all of this rhetoric that the only perfect worldview is to be aligned with God's will for the world, and God is not controlled by our political processes. When Jesus lived on earth, he did not try to overthrow or control the Roman political structures, but rather, he let those structures continue to function as they did. Jesus was more interested in trying to reorient how the Jewish religious people saw their world; He wanted them to have a "biblical" worldview (if you will permit me to use that term even though anachronistic for its time).

In a recent Sunday School class, our 6th-12th graders were asked to answer the question, "What does God expect from us?" I have several sheets of paper filled with their insightful answers. Here are a few of their thoughts:

  • "God expects from us to be kind and not to be mean to others..."
  • "God expects us to care for other people and not to be selfish..."
  • "We shouldn't lie but tell the truth to others..."
  • "God expects us to love one another, be kind, notice when you sin and repent, and put others before yourself..."
  • "God expects us to love him, love each other..."
  • "God expects us to believe in him..."
  • "God expects us to ask for forgiveness..."
  • "God expects us to treat others the way you would like to be treated..."
  • "God expects us to love everyone..."
  • "God expects us to follow his commandments..."
  • "God expects us to open our heart to the Lord and repent..."

 

Jesus wanted the religious people to have a heart for God. I am reminded of what Jesus said was the first and greatest commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." And then one can't stop there without acknowledging that he offered the following as the second greatest commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." It is my prayer and hope that our youth will continue to live out these expectations that they recognized God has for us, and as we continue to pray for one another, our leaders, our nation, and our world, that we keep remembering these significant commandments from Christ. 

What is the Gospel? Part 8
Our Calling, God Has Called Us

Scripture Readings for Sunday, July 30

First Lesson Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm Psalm 119:129-136
Second Lesson Romans 8:26-39
The Holy Gospel Matthew 13:31-33, Matthew 13:44-52

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