Marsh Chapel summer sermons seek wisdom for “emerging adulthood”

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Marsh Chapel’s summer preaching series probes Gospel lessons for young adults.

The fact that the Bible’s New Testament Gospels are about 2,000 years old may lead some to forget that their protagonist was anything but old. As Marsh Chapel Dean Robert Hill notes, “Jesus was young man. He lived and died a young man.”

Hence this year’s topic for Marsh Chapel’s annual summer preaching series, “The Gospel and Emerging Adulthood.” The eight-week series, beginning this Sunday, June 22, rotates four BU and four guest homilists at Marsh’s weekly 11 a.m. service.

Not only Jesus, but many of his disciples “were emerging adults themselves,” making them prime models for modern young adults, says the Rev. Brittany Longsdorf, BU’s chaplain for international students and one of the series preachers. “The passion and tenacity that so often accompanies young adulthood and early adulthood are evident throughout the Gospel,” says Longsdorf. “The Gospel lessons of peace, love, compassion, truth, understanding, and positive activism are all things that transform our lives, and young adulthood is a particularly transformative time in life. These ancient narratives remind us of who we are and help us to intentionally shape who we want to be.”

If the topic seems odd for the summer, when most BU students are away, Hill and Longsdorf note that many students, particularly those from abroad, listen to the Marsh service on WBUR, the University’s National Public Radio station, and especially on the internet, either live or by podcast later. Besides, says Hill, the series will also address how those who work with young adults can better engage with them.

In addition to the aforementioned preachers, the rest of the roster is made up of the Rev. Robin Olson (STH’86), School of Theology spiritual life coordinator; Brother Lawrence A. Whitney (STH’09,’15), University chaplain for community life; the Rev. Stephen Cady II, pastor of Asbury First United Methodist Church in Rochester, N.Y.; Echol Nix, Jr., a Furman University associate professor of religion; Jonathan Walton, a Harvard Divinity School professor and Memorial Church minister; and the Rev. Regina Walton, associate rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Weston, Mass.

Now in its eighth year, the summer series has been popular, Hill says, citing, in part, comments received for the 2007 sermons, which were focused on the Iraq War.

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