I had a vivid and disturbing dream. I saw crowds of young people, all dressed in the same fashionable clothes and hair styles. It was a moonless, dark night and the young people were stumbling their way around city streets. Suddenly, a deafening screech filled the air and the teenagers scattered in all directions. Bat-like creatures swooped down amongst them. The smaller teenagers were immediately carried off to nests. In the mayhem, some youngsters were isolated and injured and the creatures worked in small teams to peck out eyes and tongues. The dawn broke and the creatures retreated, repelled by the sunlight. The city quickly filled with smartly dressed adults talking into mobile phones and heading off to work, stepping over the young bodies, oblivious or uncaring. Large refuge trucks moved slowly through the city streets sucking up the lifeless bodies of the precious teenagers followed by teams of street cleaner’s jet-spaying the pavements. The bodies were disposed of at large crematoria on the edge of the city producing enough energy to heat the city pools and shopping malls.
I don’t pretend to have a detailed interpretation of the meaning of this dream. The overwhelming sense I had when I awoke, which I still have, is that this current generation of young people is in collective danger from some of the cultural values which shape them and the spiritual forces which in turn shape those values. In response to this situation the church must give up its preoccupation with itself and do as Paul did; leave the confines, comfort and cloisters of its buildings and venture out into the darkness. Once there the church is to speak words of resurrection over the Eutychus generation it finds (Acts chapter 20: 7-12). May we see this current Eutychus generation returning to the Father’s House. And may they in turn become tomorrow’s church communities, beacons of blazing light which will attract yet more of their own to Jesus and the abundant new life he offers.