The Planet

This poem is based on a bedtime story I told my children….
——

Let me introduce you to a planet
Made up of two races
One made of lava
The other with rocky bodies and faces

These two groups
Have a long standing fight
That has lasted for years
Each group believed they were right

No one really knew
How the ancient quarrel started
Just that one time they were unified
And now they were parted

Old Legends told
of a race long ago
A peaceful nation
Who had a glossy glow

Day after day
The two people groups would meet
On the battlefield to fight
Chanting “war” rhythmically to the beat

In the heat of battle
The two groups would clash
The matches would be quick
and would be done in a flash

One day a strange man
Came from over the hill
And met the two groups
Who both were ready to kill

This man seemed different
He had a smooth and rocky look
He shine was brilliant
Everyone’s attention he took

Somehow he stopped the commotion
The groups stopped to hear
He yelled “HALT!” at full blast
He gained everyone’s ear

This man had an idea
One that may do the trick
He knew it sounded crazy
But they had nothing else to pick

He told them to form two lines
Each facing the other team
Then told them to embrace
No matter how unnatural it seamed

With frowns and complaints
The first few locked arms
Then something amazing happened
That caused them no harm

Both groups transformed
And changed to something new
And looked like this strange man
Shiny like morning dew

This was the race
Of the stories from before
The peaceful obsidian race
They heard about in lore

Then immediately
All in attendance complied
Both groups came over
to the other groups side

Putting down their weapons
And finding common ground
Both sides were transformed
And enduring change was found

The moral of the story
If you cannot see
Is that sometimes acceptance
Can change you and me.

There’s Mud Ahead: Why Intergenerational Churches are Vital

We were on a hike at the local state park. It was a beautiful day, and the shade during our walk provided a welcome reprieve from the sun’s rays. The excitement of “actually getting out of the house” hurried our preparations for exploring nature. We were armed with bottled water and our normal hiking clothes. It was time to have fun. Even the kids were enthused about the event (which speaks volumes since it had nothing to do with electronics). On the way to the park, we discussed what path we would take, and decided on one that was not terribly long, but provided some good scenic views. We had a late morning start so we wanted to make sure we timed it out right to eat lunch at the appropriate time.

As the hike started, we had a fairly typical experience (nodding our heads to people we passed, telling the kids not to pick up rocks and sticks, recounting stories of previous hikes, etc.). Then, as we approached an older couple walking the opposite direction, they told us of a hazard that we were about to experience. The rain from 2 days prior had caused certain low areas to collect water and form large mud pits that were difficult to cross. We thanked the couple for letting us know what was ahead of us, and trekked forward. Sure enough, we reached exactly what they described, and it was nice because we had mentally prepared for it. There were 3 different areas that contained mud and when we passed them, we soon saw other hikers who had not yet approached the mud pits. We then told them about what they were going to experience so they were also prepared.

This experience led me to reflect on Deuteronomy 6; a deeply foundational section of scripture referred to as “The Shema”. It is called this, because the first word in verse 4, in Hebrew, is literally “shema” (to listen/hear). In this writing (which was, and still is, regularly repeated/ prayed by committed Jews) emphasizes the holiness of God and our obedient response to Him. It also goes on to command followers to embed the message on their hearts AND pass down this communication to the next generation. This command wasn’t just conveyed to people with children, but to the whole worship community. It was everyone’s job to make sure this message was being preserved for future generations. It is life-giving and requires remembrance.  

For many, it becomes tempting to seek out worship communities that mostly reflect their own current context in life. People often try to find congregations that have mostly people their own age, with the same age of children, or perhaps containing young married couples that share their same interests. I think this can be a mistake (depending on the heart attitude). While some of this is great, often what happens is that entire churches shut out those of other generational demographics. There tend to be a lack of older people with more life experience to help guide and disciple. Then, a new church growth book is published, and the author essentially wags his/ her finger at the older generation, telling them they have abandoned the younger generation.

In the same way that nice older couple told us about the mud hazard ahead, we need intergenerational worship experiences to help us prepare for future physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental hazards. If facilitated in a healthy way, the more mature generation can pour into the less mature by utilizing their stories. We simply cannot get this without older and younger generations experiencing life together. Older believers have a command (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) that they need to fulfill. Let’s not rob them of that.

Love you all.

-Landon DeCrastos