This is what the late Phyllis Tickle called, “the rummage sale that the church undergoes every 500 years.” Lately, even the Wall Street Journal has probed the question of what the church or the future will look like. The pandemic catapulted us 10 years further down the road, forcing us to make necessary changes of how to be church. The old teapots are not the real question. The real question is how to shape human life with spiritual depth and how to graciously love one another in essential ways.
You and I are called to remake the church. In the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah describes a time of massive cultural shift. God’s holy people, the nation of Israel, was being rebuilt after a time of devastating loss around 500 BC. The people had lost their way and broken their relationship to God. But the prophet says that God will take them by the hand and lead them and build a new reality with them. “I will put my law within them and I will write it on their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33) I think it is one of the most beautiful images in all of scripture. To think that God doesn’t just write 10 commandments on stone tablets, God writes the law of love on our hearts. You see as God remakes each of us, God remakes the human community.
Krista Tippett said that there are three great questions of meaning: 1) What does it mean to be human? 2) How do we want to live? And 3) Who will we be to each other? It is this third question that I think we are answering as we wrestle with how to remake the church. Together our congregation will sort out the details about online worship, emerging technology, service projects that empower the poor, youth group that supports our precious teenagers, preschool that teaches God’s divine love and pastoral care that uplifts and honors our beloved elder saints. But the real question is this third question. Who will we be to each other? Or, as Krista said “if we will accompany each other and allow ourselves to be accompanied.”
Grace and Peace,