A generation that gets it.
July 16, 2016, was a historic date for America. It is a historic date for our generation. A historic date for the Church.
In Washington, D.C., there was a gathering of hundreds of thousands of young people who desire to see change in our nation and our world. I reflect on that event today because it has not and should not stop. The spirit and purpose of this gathering continues amidst darkness; its light shines through.
The roots of all the problems our world is facing comes from brokenness. We’ve seen how dreams, people, and lives have been shattered because of the evil we see happening like a daily routine. There is hatred that cuts through like a knife in our society. Now we face division in our communities, in our nation, and in our world. We all have come face to face with this reality and have to decide how we deal with injustice. Imagine you knock over a beautiful vase that has been passed down in your family for generations. It was so priceless and so precious to your family because of its history. The pieces that now lay scattered on the ground were once so beautiful when they were together. Today as we face division and hatred, we face this question: How do we deal with the broken pieces scattered across the floor? How can we see beauty when there is so much brokenness?
The one that can bring these pieces together is not a politician, not a pastor, not an entrepreneur, not a motivational speaker, or even a billionaire. There is one who humbly came to this earth from paradise to see beauty rise from the ashes of our world. One who saw the broken pieces on the floor and became the way to bring them back together. His name is Jesus, Jesus Christ. He is the living Son of God who desires a relationship with everyone and restoration for our lives!
I’m telling you, friends, that Jesus Christ is the only one that can bring these broken pieces, us, together.
Together 2016 was appropriately named for the need in our nation. This gathering of people ages 14-22 represented a generation that wants to see beauty out of brokenness. Hearts were longing for unity in our nation, not out of selfish ambition, but out of love for others. I have never experienced an event so unified and moving.
It was such an incredible privilege to represent my generation at this event. A high school student and I, two ordinary people, had the opportunity to pray over our peers about the issues we know we face. I cannot begin to explain to you how overwhelmed I was with the Holy Spirit’s presence that day. From preparation backstage to walking out and seeing the sea of people next to the Washington Monument, I knew that God was there and he was speaking clearly to us about the future he desires for us.
God used so many incredible communicators to preach the gospel at Together 2016. Many big names took the stage to remind everyone why Christ followers hold on to Jesus as our hope. His story of redemption was declared so that our stories would be changed. With all the stories we constantly hear in the media that make our hearts sink to our stomachs, we were reminded of a story that we need to be sharing more than anything else! The gospel needs to be communicated in whatever way, shape, or form God has called you to share it. Especially as a young person! Your voice and your influence can inspire this nation to come together in a time that evil has designed for us to flee from unity. This message was preached boldly on the stage that day for our generation to hear.
While inspirational leaders are used by God to communicate his Word, it wasn’t the people onstage that shaped the event. People like Tim Tebow, Christine Caine, Francis Chan, Hillsong United, and Lecrae didn’t bring people together. They were simply leaders and communicators to usher us into the presence of God. And it was so humbly done. These names were talked about, not highlighted. It was Jesus’ name that was lifted higher than anyone who was a part of this event. That is why Together 2016 was like no other event I’ve ever experienced.
When Jesus is the reason for a gathering, in the hearts of those who organized the event as well as those who drove miles to get there, lives are radically changed. God does so much more than we could ever do or ask for.
Our generation gets it. We understand that there is brokenness and problems that don’t point to any logical solution. But as I saw hundreds of thousands of Christ followers stand together in our nation’s capital just few weeks ago, I was reminded of our solution. Our solution is to point to Jesus Christ. As a generation that longs for justice, longs for peace, and longs for love to conquer hatred, we need to continue to stand together under Jesus’ name to see beauty rise from brokenness.
Let’s give Jesus the broken pieces and see restoration in our land.
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God, your God, will get you out of there and bring you back to the land your ancestors once possessed. It will be yours again. He will give you a good life and make you more numerous than your ancestors. God, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children’s hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live. God, your God, will put all these curses on your enemies who hated you and were out to get you. And you will make a new start, listening obediently to God, keeping all his commandments that I’m commanding you today. God, your God, will outdo himself in making things go well for you: you’ll have babies, get calves, grow crops, and enjoy an all-around good life. Yes, God will start enjoying you again, making things go well for you just as he enjoyed doing it for your ancestors. But only if you listen obediently to God, your God, and keep the commandments and regulations written in this Book of Revelation. Nothing halfhearted here; you must return to God, your God, totally, heart and soul, holding nothing back. This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain – you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. And it’s not across the ocean–you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it (Deuteronomy 30:3-13).
Olivia Eckart is a young Christian leader from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is studying ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University. She is the founder of Enlightened, a ministry devoted to equipping high school students across the nation to lead worship and gospel-focused events at their schools.