Over the past several years I have had the joy of teaching the book of Hebrews in a number of formats: retreats, adult classes, and most recently the 8th grade class where I worship. I love the book of Hebrews and I love 8th graders. Putting the two together made for a most amazing time.

8th graders are ready to dig deeper spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally; they are sophisticated enough to appreciate dry humor; and they have not reached the age at which being cool is the entire reason for being.

So as I wended my way through Hebrews with these freshly blooming souls, I appreciated the rich and powerful lessons it carries for those young in faith:

Do not turn back…

Pay attention to what you have heard…

Leave behind the easy stuff and move on to maturity…

Listen to your leaders…

Imitate their faith…

I am not one to offer up a list of tips and techniques to follow to a given end. Tips and techniques may get you started on the road to change, but they rarely get you where you really want to be, which in the case of believers is not conformed but transformed. And yet, the advice Hebrews presents for staying focused on Jesus, while rather tip-ish and technique-y on the surface, when understood in the fuller context of the letter is pretty solid advice for maintaining faith in this world.

And so as I brought our class to an end, I exhorted my young students to listen to God through His letter to the Hebrews as they launch into the work of bringing together the threads of all the Bible stories they knew and weaving them in their community of faith and in communion with God into a rich and vibrant tapestry of faith.

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