What is God at work doing around us?
Renewal is the season of Christmas and the work at Peace
God is at work recycling three old congregations into one new creation of Peace. Who could have imagined it before God started to do it?
If we add the life-spans on those three congregations, they total 195 years – nearly two centuries of God’s grace calling many people to trust Jesus for forgiveness, life and salvation. Who could have imagined it before God started to do it?
That’s God for you. That’s God for us. That’s God for the world. God is always up to something, making all things new.
As we hear again the Advent call of John the Baptizer to repent, who could have imagined it before God started to do it? The Greek word in Matthew 3:2 is metanoeite which means literally “change your minds.” Changing our minds is what we need to do in order to see and hear the new creation that God is doing among us now. In the darkness and deafness of human sin no eye could see, no ear could hear what God is doing. Nevertheless, God is so relentless, after us all the time to change our thinking from the same old, same old thoughts and ways to God’s new ways of thinking and doing.
This coming Christmas season, we will celebrate again the birth of God as the baby Jesus, appropriately named for he is the God who saves. Who could have imagined it before God started doing it? The prophets came close but even they didn’t get it all right. The last and greatest prophet, John the Baptizer, had to send his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the One, or should we look for another?” Jesus’ reply was that he should open his eyes and ears to hear and see what Jesus was doing.
We need to change our thinking also to see and hear what God is doing among us. In the book, The U Turn Church, Kevin Harney has written, “A U-Turn is first and foremost about lifting up one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is about bringing the refreshing water of Jesus to a parched and thirsty world.”
A U-Turn Church sounds to me like a church that changes its collective mind, that repents of thinking its own thoughts, that changes its thinking from “what do I/we want?” and “what do I/we need?” to “what do our neighbors outside the church need?” Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan who saw right away what the unconscious man beside the road needed. The really good Samaritan is none other than Jesus himself. And there is a whole world of people around us who have not experienced the love of Jesus and the forgiveness, life and salvation Jesus gives. What do you see and hear God doing with us?