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“Embracing the Winds of Change”
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43: 19, NIV)
A new thing? These ancient words spoken by the great prophet Isaiah so long ago issued a message of hope to the people of Israel who were exiled and no doubt struggled with their own identity, and what they were being called to as a people of faith. In the midst of their struggles and their stumbling about came this message that promised new life even in the places where one would least expect it........ wilderness........ wasteland.
As I reflect on the church and where it has been and where it seems to be headed, I cannot help but feel that God is doing a new thing again. And it feels like a great struggle is our reality now as we hear and experience the common stories of aging and shrinking congregations, aging and decaying buildings that have become a burden that overshadows our call to mission, and now Covid – 19 that has redirected us in many ways. When I think of our Church and where we find ourselves presently my mind carries me to the Gospel story found in John's chapter 20 where after Jesus death the disciples find themselves hiding and huddled together in fear. Everything had changed. Things did not turn out the way they were expecting or hoping. They were afraid of the new circumstances that were unfolding before them. Fear.... frozen..... unable to move.....and then suddenly, as he had promised, the resurrected Christ was in their midst .........
“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’”
See........ I am doing a new thing.....
Since the early 1960’s mainline churches have been shrinking. Christendom is long past. What may have been expected or hoped for will not be as the traditional, comfortable model of what church is fades away. How shall we respond? What shall the vision be for the church that can connect with people where and how they live?
As we embrace the wonderful Gospel story of those disappointed disciples huddled in fear, only to discover that what they were experiencing was resurrection and a new beginning, may we be fully aware of Christ’s presence in this new thing and the gift of the Spirit that he breathes on us.
My dream and vision for God’s church is that we can let the Spirit lead us down the pathway to a “new thing”, where we can discover and live out our purpose and identity in this rapidly changing world. I am very excited about the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead.
I encourage all of us to imagine who we can be and where we can go in the mission for Christ in the world. Let’s find new ways. Ways that fit the needs of our communities, new ways of partnering with other faith groups and the communities in which we live and work, living out God’s vision of Kin-dom, ways that clearly reveal us as the radiant presence of the Christ in all circumstances and relationships. Let’s remember, Jesus was the great one at turning things upside down. Yes, it hurts, it’s hard, but hey.... the world needs us to be the agents of change that let loose the radical, never-ending grace of God. We are invited to this “new thing” through the lyrics of Fred Kaan’s amazing hymn “Come, O Holy Spirit” ( MV# 23),
Vs 2... “ Blow away the cobwebs of our stubborn past. Come send flying from us myths unfit to last. Wind of change, refresh us and disturb our calm; teach us what true love is, take our hearts by storm” (Used with permission).
Take our hearts by storm that we might embrace the winds of change. I believe the Spirit is calling.....saying to our mighty ‘Ship Church’...... pull your anchor, baby, raise the sails all the way to the top, and let me fill you, and set sail to all the ports of need in this world.
Ha. See, I am doing a new thing. Let’s be that new thing. Amen.
In Christ’s unending love,
I bid you continuing peace in the midst of pandemic………..PT.
South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge...We Are Linked In LOVE!!
We have been asked & now offer 3 Easy ways to receive your Tithes & Offerings.....
~First, let us say that we are grateful and appreciative for all your continued support!~
We want to be sure we can give you a tax receipt for your generous donation.
Help us out by providing the necessary information:
- ADDRESS: Street / P.O. Box
- Postal Code
- BE SURE TO MEMO WHICH CHURCH: *COURTLAND UNITED or *CULTUS UNITED
1) ETRANSFER DONATIONS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org (PLEASE remember to attach the above necessary info within message)
2) CHEQUES MAIL TO: South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge, P.O.Box 129, 119 Talbot Road, Courtland, On., N0J1E0
3) PAR PROGRAM: Please contact LINDA MILLEN 519-875-4657 for CULTUS United Church
Please contact LOIS BEUMER 519-582-1906 for COURTLAND United Church