This summer we had to cut seven trees: prominent, distinctive, shade makers. This was received with sadness by some in the church, but we knew that it was what had to be done because they had become a danger. Several were dead and the others diseased. One of the trees produced only dry dust as the workers ground it up, yes, it was dead.
Although this has certainly transformed the landscape of our campus, it reminds me of where many churches find themselves facing in the 21st century. The “beautiful trees” of Christendom are diseased and dying. In order to have relevant, authentic relationships where even enemies are loved; the structures of “church as it has been” that do not enhance these values of Christ must be cut down. After all, they're dangerous!
The first Sunday after the huge Cider Birch just to the east of the sanctuary came down; the amount of light that came into the sanctuary was amazing! The challenge and opportunity for the churches today is create spaces that “let the light in.” People are looking for a safe space where they can discover who God has made them to be. For far too long, the institutional church has been throwing shade on people’s lives instead of letting the light in. This is a reminder that it's okay to miss the trees, but God's call to us is to be enablers of light.
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
I'm a follower of Christ, husband, father, friend, pastor, story teller, asker of questions, inspired by biblical narratives, social justice advocate, sports enthusiast, drinker of over priced coffee and general seeker of God's redemptive possibilities. Yeah, that about covers it. (If you discover something else, let me know!)