I am constantly amazed how the physical patterns in creation,nature and in our lives often reflect spiritual truths. Little things which we don’t really pay attention to that much but when you look deeper there’s something profound.
There are many examples. First, look at food. On a vey basic level, food comes from plant seeds we plant in the ground. These grow into plants and produce fruit, and when ripe we pick it – and it dies. Then we eat the fruit of the plant – whether it be fruit and vegetables, through fermentation to produce wine, , squeezed to produce juice or sauce or through the baking process, made into bread. This dead food gives us sustanance and life.
Meanwhile the seeds of the dead fruit are buried in the ground, and grow to produce more, and the whole process happens again.
Its like death bringing about life and from the thing that has died comes a seed which brings new life and a new plant from the dead one.
Kinda like Jesus dying for us so that we can be free from things that hold us back, from our mistakes, from the things we regret or hold us back. From that death comes new life for us, through Him rising up to new life.
Then there’s the seasons. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. Spring means new life, summer is when creation starts to flourish and reach its peak, autumn is when things start to age and decline, when the good times of summer seem distant, and in winter everything is dying and its very dark.
These are reflected in our lives, and not just in age/season terms. We go through seasons in our lives which cover all four seasons, and at different points in our lives we will go through different seasons. Its not simply a case of winter=old age, although that can be the case, but inside of our lives we have periods where we start afresh and everything is new, where we really peak and flourish, when things start to fade away and when things get difficult or we have to say goodbye to things. They often come in that order, but it can happen over a short period or longer period, and not always of equal time.
Yet another way creation reflects our own lives and journeys.
It got me thinking, that maybe the church is the same.
The church at the moment in this country is in decline. Only 1% of the population attends church on a regular basis. The culture we live in seems to be more and more contrary to the values of Jesus and it is less and less acceptable to be open and public about what we believe.
Following Jesus is becoming more and more revolutionary.Traditional churches and denominations appear more and more divided. People are rejecting traditional church models.
The church needs to evolve.
It needs to change.
We need to get away from ‘the establishment’ and go back to our roots, and be less fearful of being radical and revolutionary.
We need to be let go of the past – of religion and legalism, of division, of old tradtions which have no relevance. We need to keep the best of the past and evolve into something different, relevant, fresh, inspiring, accepting, and which meets the needs of the culture around it.
Our teaching and language needs to evolve into a more creative, less cheesy-Christian, more relevant style. Our lives need to start reflecting our faith, people need to see who we are by what we stand for and how we live and act as churches and individuals.
We need to plant new seeds of a new kind of church, with the same essential values and docterines of faith, but a fresh approach. We need to accept the culture we live in and be accepting and welcoming of all the different sorts of people that are part of it, as they are and change the perception of church and Christians from being anti-anything, to what we stand for, and to a loving, gracious, welcoming place where people can find hope, can find their identity and find love and acceptance and above all have their lives changed for the better.
We may now be in winter as a church. But maybe spring is coming.
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