Thursday, July 12, 2012


Road Closed - what now??
Highway 218 skirts to the west side of town.  Via 218 one can zip down to Waterloo-Cedar Falls or head north toward the Twin Cities.  Just a couple of miles south of Waverly on 218, on the edge of Janesville, a new intersection is under construction.

Quite frankly its a mess...dust everywhere, lane closures, redirected traffic AND the reality that the Kwik Star gas station will no longer be an easy right hand turn, as one will have to actually take an exit to slip in for gas or a cup of coffee is starting to sink in.  Grrrrrr

It wasn't until the new northbound lanes were open that I realized that something even bigger and quite intriguing was happening.  The construction crew isn't making a mess of things - they are actually  creating...and in a strangely surreal sort of way - it is a thing of art.

When I say artist I mean the man who is building things - creating molding the earth - whether it be the plains of the west - or the iron ore of Penn.  It's all a big game of construction - some with a brush - some with a shovel - some choose a pen.  (Jackson Pollock, 20th C artist)

Change is often down right difficult, painful even.  We avoid change at almost any cost, we fret over it, we get ulcers in advance of or in anticipation of change.  And yet, when it's all said and done - like the new interchange - we will most likely come to terms with things, and hopefully benefit and perhaps even see the new scenario as beautiful.

What is it about our human nature that wants to keep us fixed in place, so resistant to change?

I am one of those pastors who embrace narrative theology.  I see scripture as God's story and through the overarching biblical narrative we are able to see how God's love, justice, mercy and patience forms and shapes a people over a great deal of time to receive God's own self, the 2nd person of the Trinity, with the incarnation/birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

In the scriptural accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection God's story takes on new meaning as healing, teaching and reconciliation lead to the ushering in of the kingdom of God - here and now.  Finally, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we become bound together as the Body of Christ to go and do even greater things in His name.

Sometimes change hurts, often times change involves sacrifice - as a culture we are prone to avoid pain and sacrifice at any cost!  What does this say about people of faith?  People who are formed by the promise that God has something for us to do - we are to be about the ministry of preaching, teaching and healing in Christ's name - sharing the Good News of God's love, mercy and peace with others - and we are not to be afraid, because Christ is with us through it all, in it all, even to the end of the age! (Matthew 28:18-20)

Just as the inevitable summer road construction projects or the latest developments in the science field with the Higgs boson discovery point to constant change, its time to realize and embrace the dynamics of change in our churches.

The 'glory days' of the 50s and 60s were a change from the depression era and the temperance movement, likewise the 21st century brings its own sorts of nuances to the lives of people of faith.  If we are not willing to move forward with courage and vision, we will surely stagnate.

But if we approach the world in which we live as an opportunity to engage in mission and ministry along side the One who is already present, already at work, already immersed in the lives of women and men of all ages, then we ought to be able to see the future as a place of great opportunity and creative exploration.

Its all about perspective.

grinding up asphalt and concrete
One last thought, when I took the time to pull over and really watch the road crew at work I noticed that they are recycling the old materials and reusing the soil, concrete and asphalt as the underlayment of the new road.  How appropriate for the work that the church faces in the years to come!  There is no reason to throw out the old, but to lean into the new with wisdom, compassion and creativity.
New road bed

What do you think?  Are you ready to give your time, talents and treasures to live a life of change for the Kingdom of God??

in Christ, together,

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