“It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.”
Change is not an easy thing for most people and the world has been living in a state of change for months now as we try to navigate this pandemic and the other difficulties our world is facing. Considering our current situation, it is difficult to see the bright side.
I cringe when I hear things like: ” these unprecedented times” or “times of uncertainty” because I feel like we are called to do more than just survive through a situation such as this. I believe that we are called to grow, change, adapt, and even thrive.
The Lord’s ever vibrant creation provides a perfect example for us: Wildfires.
Wildfires are nearly unstoppable, and they have the power to completely alter the impacted landscape. Wildfires burn indiscriminately, causing the downfall of the oldest, longest-standing trees in the wood; these fires also incinerate undergrowth, displace wildlife, and more. Despite the natural occurrence of wildfires, we are still guilty of starting them ourselves. Why?
The answer is that fire still provides some benefit to our environment.
Now, all fire is risky and even the best controlled burns can still grow out of control and become deadly and devastating. Despite all that, wildfires still serve to clear dead trees and old debris so that new vegetation can grow and thrive. There are even certain types of pinecones, called serotinous cones, that require fire for the cone to open to release its seeds. A wildfire can completely re-shape and change a forest, leaving, amongst the charred remains, new growth, and new life.
With this pandemic changing the way we worship together and the Hart’s entering retirement at the end of August, Liberty Presbyterian Church is in a wildfire that is changing the forest that we have grown to know and love. It is sad to see some of our favorite things get taken away, and it is certainly appropriate to mourn this loss. Also, it is completely appropriate for us to plant new seeds in the wake of this wildfire.
We are not called to live in the loss. We are called to live in the new life.
As this wildfire continues to re-shape our forest, we will need to grow and change. Worship, fellowship, community…they are not going to look like they did before. But new seeds of worship, fellowship, and community will grow. New ministries are already starting to grow up from the ashes of the pandemic. Re-thinking and inventing ways to continue existing ministries are going to be the new seeds planted because of this pandemic and transition. Christ’s love for us is always taking the old and making it new. We are called to be new creations and I think one of the best ways for us to fulfill this calling is to be imaginative and to be creative when a force of change disrupts the ways that we have always done things.
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