The Great City Stops

July 31, 2002
by Anne Russell

Psalm 25:7 – Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord. (NIV)

Though not of the Roman Catholic faith, I had to stop and watch as the World Youth Day took over last week in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Pope John Paul had come to town and everything seemed to come to a grinding halt. Even the media took note, and the talk shows that normally seemed to look down on Christianity began to listen to the youth here from all over the world.

One evening, University Avenue, one of the city's widest streets, was closed, to accommodate the Twelve Stations of the Cross. A dramatic production, the words written by the Pope some years ago, came to life, and the several events that led up to the crucifixion were re-enacted by amateur youth. As the cross was dragged down the street, many on the sidelines were overcome with deep emotion.

I noted that those who were acting the parts were torn to tears themselves, as often seems to happen when dramatic productions of the crucifixion are enacted. The key figures seemed to be taken up in the emotional spirit of the events. What is it about the crucifixion that stirs our emotions and drives us to tears? Even as I watched on the television, I was moved.

A lot of my thinking was turned to our youth. Of late, all I have heard about them has been on the down side: the lust for drugs, alcohol and sex, and disobedience to any kind of authority. This week, I have witnessed once again that Christianity has everything to offer, not only to our youth, but to us all. It gave me a breath of new life and hope that all generations may look up to Jesus and abide in His Spirit.

Prayer: Holy Father, maker of us all, we pray that You will bless the youth of the world, particularly those who came to Toronto last week. May they take home a part of what they have experienced, and may their lives never be the same. May the power of Your Holy Spirit renew us all as Christians. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Anne Russell <anbrussell@rogers.com>
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

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