Ah, another week fades into the past and the blessing of the Sabbath has come. When the sun sets on Friday evening, we enter into a special time where the stresses of our normal lives no longer occupy our focus. We turn our eyes upon our Lord, allowing His Spirit to cleanse us and granting us a renewal of strength. In the words of King David, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalms 51:2)
Tomorrow the Barstow Seventh-day Adventist Church is having a communion service, which includes footwashing. The youth Sabbath School lesson over the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus (see John 3:1-17) fits perfectly with communion and footwashing, since the lesson discusses salvation and baptism. Only one of my students is baptized, and I would like to open a dialog with the others in the off-chance that someone is interested. Though by no means is choosing to be baptized an easy decision, and many youth are baptized for the wrong reasons: everyone else their age is doing it, they are pressured by family, etc.
The lesson also touches on something that I experienced as a teenager: what if you never have a dramatic conversion experience? So many times, we hear about these amazing stories of people who lived horrible lives “finding Jesus” and being changed. We can equate this to what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus. But many youth who are raised in a community of faith never have a dramatic experience. They grow conscious of spiritual matters gradually and their decisions on what to believe happen over a span of a few years. This is like Nicodemus. He was already a fully-fledged member of his faith community (He was a Pharisee, a Jewish teacher and leader.) when his interest in the teachings of Christ were peaked, and even after speaking with Jesus face to face, it took he about three years before he came to accept the new knowledge and truth that Jesus taught. He had a spiritual journey, not a single life-changing moment.
My own experience was similar to Nicodemus’s. I was born in a Christian home, and even though I studied other religions, I never faltered in my beliefs; however, during my high school and early college years, my spiritual journey led me to a deeper understanding of the Bible and teachings of Christ, which has eventually changed my life but at the time did not seem like a change at all. I would suspect that more people have a spiritual journey than a dramatic conversion experience, so just because no single moment is burned into your memory does not mean your own journey is non-existent, unimportant, or not worth sharing.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17