An interesting way to gauge societal shifts is to pay attention to language. Merriam-Webster tracks word usage throughout the year and creates a list of the “top 10 words of the year” as well as frequently adding new words as they become part of everyday language. One word that has been trending in recent years is “adult” as a verb. For those unfamiliar with the term, Merriam-Webster describes it this way: “to ‘adult’ is to behave like an adult, specifically to do the things—often mundane—that an adult is expected to do.” Social observers see the advent of this new form of the word as a result of the experience of millennials (and even to extent Generation X), difficulty into transitioning from dependent life to independent life, often blamed on the result of an economy in which entry-level positions pay less than a living wage and student debt is at cripplingly high levels. Regardless of how you feel about the word or the causes that contributed to its rise, it is a term with contemplating.

‘Adulting’ is something with which we struggle in the church as well, going all the way back to the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 as he wrote of putting an end to childish things. And yet, too often we see confirmation not as the beginning of this maturation of our faith but as the culmination of it, as though the things we learned and remember from the age of 13 or 14 are somehow the most complete expression of the faith. Studying scripture is fascinating to me because no matter how manner times one reads a given text there is always something more to be pondered, teased, or wrestled with. This is one of the reasons I appreciate having the Revised Common Lectionary as it consciously invites us to visit the same text every three years, to see what more God might be saying to us. For those of us who have been confirmed or who have affirmed our participation in the church through an affirmation of faith we have yet more to do. In Hebrews 6:1-2 we read these words, “So let’s press on to maturity, by moving on from the basics about Christ’s word. Let’s not lay a foundation of turning away from dead works, of faith in God, of teaching about ritual ways to wash with water, laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgement—all over again. We’re going to press on, if God allows it….But we desperately want each of you to show the same effort to make your hope sure until the end. This is so you won’t be lazy but follow the example of the ones who inerit the promises through faith and patience.”

It’s time for us to “adult” in the church, to take hold of the faith and live it out, to do those things God expects us to do: those mundane everyday tasks of feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, caring for the foreigner and stranger, clothing the naked, bringing justice to the oppressed and freeing the captive. Let us set aside our childish ways of gossip, selfishness, greed, ignorance and pride, and instead follow in the ways of Christ which lead to fullness of life.

Keep the faith,

Pastor Tara