June 14 marks our annual Transitions and Bridging service, where we honor the transitions of our children and bridge our youth into young adulthood. Bridging is an interesting word, as a bridge implies that there is solid ground to land on when you reach the other side. Yet, many of our youth leave our congregations and feel lost in an adult world that doesn’t quite know how to include them or doesn’t respect the skill and creativity they have to offer our congregations at age 18, 19, 20… They often don’t find a congregation to land in until they are in their late 20’s or begin a family, if at all.
I wonder if the youth who bridge can ever really know the magnitude of the moment. The adults in your faith community – the ones who have watched you grow, taught you RE, covenanted at your child dedication – they are there urging you to cross into the next phase on your life. Like a proud mama bird, they are pushing you out of the nest. They are telling you “Now is your time, fly! Go discover yourself and the world.”
Whether it is a bridge to a set path you have determined or a nest high in a tree that you fling yourself from with abandon, don’t rush to land. Take time crossing the bridge, rebuild it if necessary. Find a new way. Make this time an adventure and alight when you are tired or need sustenance or find yourself lonely. After all, you will be busy, your life will change drastically if you leave home to go to school or to work. There are new responsibilities to take on and the excitement of being on your own. The changes you experience will come fast and furiously. Remember you have a faith home that loves you and wants to include you, even as we struggle with creating space for the fledgling adults in our communities. And when you do return, I know that with your help we can change our ways and learn how to better include you in our worship, work and play.
Safe journeys to our bridging youth!