Young Adult Bible Study
A little over a year ago, a notification kept popping up on my laptop screen, and I only had a vague understanding of what it was for: “Update Available.” I would ignore the notification and contemplate deleting its associated blue icon. I had used the software at work, but only a few times. It was for video chatting, which has always struck me as silly. Each time the pop-up came, I would think, “Why do I even keep this on my computer? And who actually wants to Zoom?” I would decline the update and move on.
About the same time last year, I was looking for friends and a church community. I was evaluating my sense of purpose and direction (which I’ve come to learn is something people in their late 20s often do… the more you know!) About this time last year I was also dining out, traveling, going to the movies, and trying to have fun and figure stuff out. I was breathing around strangers without a second thought. I was, like most people at that time, unaware that “normal” life was about to evaporate. I didn’t own any masks, and I certainly was not using Zoom to communicate.
Now, I sign in to Zoom on Sundays for Bible study, and I do so with a sense of excitement I can only describe as pre-pandemic. It’s an hour of wondering aloud, asking questions, laughing and commiserating. We talk about what scripture says, and also what it means—not just as it relates to God, but as it relates to us too. This hour is filled with everything that this year has lacked: comfort, peace and stability.
We’ve also ventured into some complicated topics. Why don't the Ten Commandments condemn slavery? What about those very odd or extreme or violent references in scripture? Who is included in this story? Who isn’t? I’ve been challenged to question things about the Bible that I was once certain I understood.
This questioning has extended to my personal life too. I grew up in the Baptist church, so what does it mean to be a Presbyterian? I’m 27, so what does faith look like during this very awkward phase of adulthood? I’m gay, so is church a place where I’m welcome? Is it weird for a young person to even go to church?
All of these questions about the Bible and about myself are intertwined. They are invitations to consider joy and pain, the known and unknown, the expected and unexpected. All of it is there to study. All of it feels holy.
Yet for all of this earnest study, the floor is always open for whatever we have to offer. Was your week nuts? Vent! Did you finally get to see your grandparents? Brag! Have you written an original song that you can’t wait to share? Sing it! Introverts, extraverts, and all nine Enneagrams are welcome. Connection with one another proves just as fruitful as studying scripture. There’s room for everyone. I think this is remarkable, especially during a pandemic.
The longer I attend the Young Adult Bible Study, the more I hear stories about how God’s tool of choice is often the thing we overlook. This pandemic has brought about loss that was once unthinkable. Uncertainty permeates our days. Yet, I’ve learned not to dismiss the little blue app that lets you video chat. When the pop-up prompts me with, “Update Available,” I go ahead and click “Update.”
If God speaks through wandering Israelites in the desert and lowly shepherds in the fields, surely God will speak through Zoom too. So now, on most Sunday evenings, I sign in for Bible study. I welcome the method of connection I once thought silly. Now it feels totally normal, and I think that’s a miracle.
To get involved in our Young Adult Ministry, contact Rev. Sarah Are, firstname.lastname@example.org