Sometimes, even in the best of houses, renovations have to happen. The wallpaper that was so stylish in 1973, is an offense to the eyes in 2016! The bathroom has mold in the walls, the 5000 gallon flush toilet is a dinosaur and should be helped to extinction, and the kitchen desperately needs brightening. Once the renovation is done, it is amazing how much better everything functions.
Sometimes our institutions need renovation too.
On Sunday, October 30, pastor Tim will be preaching the 2nd in a 3 part series of messages that reflect on decisions made at the Mennonite Church Canada 2016 assembly. His theme is based on the
Future Directions Task Force recommendation that was passed by delegates: See below.
"That Mennonite Church Canada approve in principle the
directions proposed by the Future Directions Task Force Final Report, and
collaborate with the five Area Churches (British Columbia, Alberta,
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Eastern Canada) in developing a more integrated
nation-wide church body along the lines envisioned to better resource all
levels of our church in responding to God’s call to live out and share the
peace of Jesus Christ with local through global neighbours."
Mennonite Church Canada, faced with shrinking budgets, changing cultural expectations, and a continued desire to be a strong and united church body, is undergoing restructuring.
Jeremiah 31:31-34, Matt. 22:34-40, and 1 Peter 2: 1-10 all give some helpful "thought background" to focus our restructuring thoughts, to move us away from the anxiety of change into a hopeful building phase.
Jeremiah speaks of a "new covenant written on your hearts." Instead of a legalistic structure focused on authoritative leaders, the new way will be within each person. Leadership here changes from top-down to something different. Responsibility is spread through all the people. It is a new system that still focuses on the same core, God, but it will function in a new way.
Things change again in the New Testament with Jesus' ways of challenging the system. The Matthew piece is an example. It again focuses on the core of faith, put pushes for action based on it. Jesus repeats the greatest commandment that everyone agrees on; "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." Then Jesus goes on to make it practical, by saying the second commandment-to love your neighbour as yourself.
In 1rst Peter, the individual "living stones" are piled together to make each other stronger, keeping Christ as the cornerstone.
There is an intriguing interplay of individuality and togetherness in the passages, an interplay that seems to always need some tweaking, some reinvention according to the challenges the people are facing.
As we move into an "MC Canada renovation", I pray that we will allow for individuals, unite in strength, and keep God at the core of all that we do.