I’m a double P.K. My father is a United Methodist pastor and my mother is a Presbyterian clergyperson. I’ve probably seen a lot more scripture than the average kid. I’ve had many opportunities to read and learn about new scriptures in the Bible. Scripture can be found and be used by anyone anywhere, especially in church. It doesn’t matter who you are, scripture can always be helpful. I believe scripture teaches that the church should be for all people. Whether people of different beliefs, non-believers, different races, ethnic groups, genders, gay or transgender, rich and poor, big or small, the church should be for anyone.
My first real introduction to scripture was Bible study. Bible study was very special to me and was taught by my grandfather, who was the pastor of Angeles Mesa Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. All my friends from school went as well. Even after I changed schools, I still went there every Wednesday to come and learn about scripture. Even though I went to Bible study at that church, most of the time I went to worship at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, because my dad was the associate pastor there at the time. One of the stories that stands out most from Bible study is the story of the Good Samaritan.
The story of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:25-37, is a story about two groups of people. The first were the Jews and the second were called the Samaritans. The two groups absolutely despised each other. However, a Jewish man went on a treacherous hike. He ended up getting in a terrible accident and was hopeless. Three people (who were Jews) just passed him and left him to die. However, a Samaritan decided to help him. Even though it could’ve meant big trouble for the both of them, he did it anyway. It ended up great for both groups.
This story teaches that no matter who a person is we can still congregate together, work together and love another. The Good Samaritan story teaches that we have to have God’s love in our hearts to help others, regardless of who they are.
Now, I am a part of the youth group at Faith UMC in Torrance. My dad is friends with the pastors of Faith. So naturally, I started to get involved with the stuff that they did there about two years ago. I started to go to each of the meetings and, in those meetings, we would mainly talk about scripture. We play a little game, pray, someone leads everyone in a sermon and then we talk about it. Within that sermon, there would be a standout scripture that we would use for discussion. This is a place that allowed me to look at a scripture and break it down to determine exactly what it means. We talk about how we include God in our daily lives. In one lesson, we talked about Jesus’ words to “Love your enemies.” We talked about kids at school that we didn’t particularly like, but how we still need to love and respect them. We have to love everyone. It is overall just a great place to fellowship together and grow more in touch with God.
Scripture (in my opinion) is a way for people to understand exactly what God wants for us to do. Whenever something goes right and whenever something goes wrong, we can turn to scripture to help us out. Scripture is a way for all of God’s children to seek help with whatever is happening. The best place to do this is the church. Any church. This is the best place to experience scripture in and out. However, the church isn’t just for reading scripture, but a place to congregate with others and heal. This is why I think it’s wrong when people say that “bad” people shouldn’t go to church. It doesn’t matter at all the kind of person you are. No matter the race, religion, beliefs or status, you should be able to come to church. Even though I am unable to go to church right now with my family at Inglewood First UMC in Inglewood, CA, I am able to learn these scripture lessons in many places, including our family devotion, youth group on Zoom and sermons from my dad. I remember one of my dad’s sermon illustrations about a guy at a restaurant. He ordered food, but others who ordered after he did got their food first and they teased him. When he got his food, it was late because it was a special order from the chef herself and that made the others be quiet. If they had not teased him, they would not have felt as rotten when he got his food. This story says we should treat all people with respect and love. Jesus says, “the last shall be first and the first shall be last.” In short, scripture teaches to treat people how you want to be treated. God’s love is for everyone. That’s everything.
Inglewood First United Methodist Church