Elizabeth Weil observes what is happening in the world of young people. In order to get ready for these new days she writes, “Prepare to feel obsolete. It’s the first step to moving ahead.”
The first time I read that I put a question mark in the margin. The next time I read it I put an exclamation point in the margin. I found the quote again last week and I wrote “amen” next to it.
What does that mean for us? It means that we will stand on the shoulders of the giants of our past while dreaming of tomorrow. We will remember that our founding pastor, George Hamilton Combs, was a visionary. He came out of retirement, out to what was then the edge of town, looked into the future and had a dream of what would become the leading congregation of Kansas City, one that was theologically adept and open. Our church’s history began with a willingness to move in whatever direction the Spirit of God called us.
In John chapter 1 we read that “the word became flesh and lived among us.” If we were Greek readers we would see in the words “lived among us,” an implication of pitching a tent. Literally it might read, “God became one of us and pitched a tent right in the middle of our lives.” Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message, gets it right: “The word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.”
This idea was not a new one with Jesus or with John. This is basically what God wanted God’s people to know for centuries, since the beginning of time really. In Jesus, we have seen the full revelation of God AND in Jesus we have seen a human being fully alive.
In other words, the life and teaching of Jesus is a blueprint for the future of the church. And by implication John’s word proclaims that God’s spirit, God’s self even, has pitched a tent with us. God is here.
God has a pitched a tent with us, but note what that means. A tent is designed to be taken down and moved. It means that God is ready to move forward with us. It implies that the future is something that God already owns.
As we put our strategic plan in place and begin the work to refurbish our building, we can trust that God is present in all that we do. God has moved in to the neighborhood and its time to go with God!
Grace and peace to you,