April 30, 2020

What’s New?

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. -Paul (II Corinthians 5:17-18)

Hardly a day has gone by in this Covid-19 era when I haven’t heard other people hijacking one of my favorite phrases; “Hey, how ‘bout…?” As an interim pastor, I am charged with looking at church activities with new eyes; from a different perspective. I also like to unleash folks to give it a try themselves. Covid-19 has become my ally in this effort (though not a beloved assistant). Necessity forces us to think and act differently in times like these. And we are!! Very seldom of late has the older maxim, “We’ve never done it that way before,” bumped into my ear drums. Way more often now I hear my cherished words, “Hey, how ‘bout…?”

God’s people have been greeting new situations in life since…creation! So we don’t have to feel that special. The fact that we are so good at it pleases me immensely. The root of our desire to consider new things grows out of our calling to be disciples of Jesus Christ; and as Paul and our church theme agree, a movement for reconciliation. How we keep doing what we are called to do because we have been forced to so is the question of each new day.

God has been shaping and reshaping the Church of Jesus Christ since the first Pentecost. Our Presby-Reformed motto is The Reformed Church is always to be reforming. Sometimes we sag into long periods of business as usual. Quite often, we do that business pretty well. And then…Kaboom! All heck breaks loose. We have scurried to a great degree to our safe corners and living spaces; but we are not cowering in them. We’re assessing how the world looks from this new perspective, and then we’re asking, “Hey, how ‘bout…?”

A few summary thoughts. First, the current reality does not provide a diversion from our work, but rather an opportunity (forced though it is) to re-imagine what we do. Second, my gratitude runneth over for the many of you who have hijacked my aforementioned phrase. You all are a thoughtful, imaginative, creative bunch and you are inspiring me a great deal. Third, we have to resurrect this creative moment when the ruts of regular life return. Let’s admit it: we like our ruts. We long for them right now! And that’s great! As long as we remember that even—no, especially in good times—we must force ourselves to keep interjecting, “Hey, how ‘bout…?” That practice would be one of the most important babies to be birthed by our Covid-19-induced time away from the ways we’ve always done things.

Yes, this devotional is tailored to church life. Yet, Paul intends for our ministry of reconciliation to flavor every aspect Christian discipleship. I hope all of us can see how this eternal truth can be ironed onto the garments of personal, family, school, work, and recreational reality as well.

Prayer: Creative God, we confess our tendency to fall into our beloved ways of doing things. We rejoice in finding out that you have placed—and in some cases hidden—remarkably creative insights and abilities within us. We praise you for prodding us to hunt them down and release them in such a time as this. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by Pastor Zomermaand

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