Young Adult Ministries Coordinator
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Too often, we worry what the loss of our emerging adults might mean for the future of the Church. We worry about who will be ordained, who will lead parish councils, or who will fund the new banquet hall. But what if the real problem facing the Church has less to do with her future and more to do with her present?
What if the reason we need to worry about our young people is because without them, we ourselves cannot be the Church? What if without our emerging adults, there is no Church?
In 1 Corinthians 12, St. Paul makes it clear that the faithful of Corinth are “the body of Christ and individually members of it” (vs. 27). That is to say that all who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ, have been united to His very Body, the Church.
Some may be a hand; others may be an eye. Regardless, all who have been baptized into Christ are members of the His Body – not symbolically, but actually (albeit mystically). If baptized young people, members of the Body of Christ, are missing, then Christ’s Body may be missing a hand or an eye. Without emerging adults, we are incomplete.
Since Christ’s Body is whole and living, broken but not divided, if Christ’s Body, the Church, is missing a hand or eye, then perhaps we need to wonder whether we are really participating in Christ’s Body at all. Perhaps in order be the Church ourselves, we need to be truly assembled as the Church, and this necessitates finding the severed hands and gouged out eyes and reattaching them to the Body of Christ. Indeed, we better start looking quickly…before we lose another eye.
St. Paul reminds us that the Body cannot look at missing hands or missing eyes and say that it has no need for them. The Body does need these hands and eyes, not tomorrow, but today.