Colin Finds a Family…
Our students went to Carowinds a few weeks ago. My son Abram was selected as a chaperone, another sign that he is considered a responsible adult.
He returned home late, looking exhausted from a hard day of corralling students through the dips and dives of Carowinds. We asked him about his trip, the kids that went, and the rides they rode. Abram has a gift for story. He can spin the details of the day so you almost wish you made the trip. Almost.
The last story he told was about Colin. Colin was an awkward boy, about 12. He was in line for a ride and our students started talking to him. They quickly got the essential facts. His parents were in the water park, and he had been turned loose in the park to fend for himself. Carowinds can be a lonely place for a 12 year old.
The group rode the ride, then clustered up to plan their next move. Colin was on the fringe, listening. When the group went off to ride the “Hurler (don’t ask),” Colin tagged along. Once the “Hurler” was conquered, they went to the “Vortex.” Colin moved from the fringe of the group to the middle.
That was the way it was for the rest of the day. Where our kids went, Colin went. Before long, it felt like Colin belonged.
It was time for our group to leave the park and for Colin to go back to his family. I’m not sure if goodbyes were shared, but for a few hours, Colin found a family.
I don’t know anything about Colin. I don’t know anything about his parents, his home life, his grades in school, his athletic ability, or his faith. I simply know he wanted a family to share Carowinds with him.
The soul searches for a family. We want to belong. We want to laugh with someone, and hold onto someone when we make the first big run down the hill. We want a group to know our name.
That’s why Jesus gave us church. When church is doing what it is designed to do, it lets souls who are searching for connection, for significance, and for understanding join them on the journey.
Our students got this, on a hot day at Carowinds. They let Colin join in. They let Colin be family. They let Colin join the church on its day riding rides.
Keep an eye for the Colins of this world. They are everywhere. They want to belong. Their souls need a family. That’s why God made us church.