Firstly, apologies for the nonappearance of a Meditation on Saturday. I spent most of Friday in PRI being prodded, bled, and scanned, until it was finally confirmed that I had developed a DVT. No big deal, and it should be sorted over the next few weeks. Unfortunately though, it was extremely painful and I did not feel up to writing anything late Friday afternoon, so I hope you will allow me one Meditation off!
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
There has been much talk this day of Pentecost, and in the preceding week about the Church reinventing itself or at the very least “Doing Church differently” in the future, once the Lockdown is released. Not just here either but Churches in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and very likely a lot of other places are also doing the same.
One of the most common themes is that the Church is not a building, it is a living thriving community of people united in a love of God and that is what is important. Over these last few months I have lost count of the number of times I have heard something along the lines of “The Church has not been closed only its buildings”. Peter Neilson’s seminal report all those years ago “Church Without Walls” has probably been quoted more in the last three months than the last ten years, and that is saying something. It has even been suggested that CWW is actually the best way of re-energising the Church after the Lockdown.
Joel is speaking of a time when following desolation God will come to Israel’s aid and she will be rebuilt, not by him alone but with the help of the people using their imaginations to see new possibilities arising from the destruction of past things, and that it is not necessary simply to rebuild the old.
It is then perhaps not surprising that when Peter preaches on the first Pentecost Sunday he quotes Joel. There is a new order a new way of doing things so do not be hide bound by convention and memories instead let your imaginations and innovations have free range. Go wild and see what you can come up with. Some of the new initiatives will fail but so what, some will succeed. It is said that when trying to invent the electric light bulb Thomas Edison tried 10,000 different methods until he found the one that succeeded “So you failed 10000 times?” he was once asked, “No failure at all” he replied,.. “In fact we discovered 9999 ways that did not work”.
So as we look to the lifting of restrictions what kind of Church do we foresee? Do we have the strength to keep that which is worth keeping? Do we have the courage to change that which needs changing? Do we have the wisdom to tell which is which?
Let us dream dreams, see visions, and prophesy to the Glory of God and how we can celebrate him in our living communities.
As Franklin Roosevelt is credited with saying “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”….
Lord God our loving Father, challenge us, search us, ask much of us, demand our attention and force us to address that which needs addressing, that we may do so in order that we might magnify your name in all the World.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,