During the month of April, I hit an important milestone. That blessed time in a person’s life when you hit the insurance co pay limit for prescription drugs, and everything else for the rest of the year is... free! Well - not exactly free, but no more coughing up cash on my regular visits to Walgreens.
We live in an amazing age of medical technology. Prior to 1921 - when the hormone insulin was discovered - my life span would have been measured in days instead of years post diagnosis. This coming October will mark 18 years since I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic.
Today, less than 100 years after that 1921 breakthrough in medical science, I am wearing a small black electronic box the size of a small cell phone which automatically regulates the ratio of insulin needed by my body in order to keep me alive.
Without the breakthrough of medical technology and the advancement of the treatment of people specifically with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, I would not be alive. Shortly after my 26th birthday, and 2 weeks after the birth of Oliver, I would have died.
Whenever we talk about change in the church, I often think of this particular story. Without change, I’d be nothing more than flower fertilizer. I also wonder if, when each new breakthrough in the treatment of type 1 diabetic care was discovered, what might have happened if someone said... “but we’ve always done it that way”.
A church that stops changing is a church that will surely die.
Some of you have beaten cancer... some of you have successfully survived foot amputations and broken hips and a myriad of other physical ailments that left untreated had the potential to claim your life. Aren’t you glad that some medical quack along the way didn’t complain that, “we’ve always done it this way”?
The same claims were often leveled against Jesus. In fact, it was the chief complaint against him by the Pharisees. When Jesus healed on the sabbath, hung out with the undesirables, raised the dead, and embraced those discarded by the church, the authorities often responded, “but we’ve always done it THIS way”.
Jesus came to bring change to the church. To introduce a new way of living. A way of life that unburdened us from the shackles of the law and set us free to change, to grow, to live and give grace, and to become all that we had been created to be in Christ Jesus.
When the church continually seeks to circle the wagons and always do it the way we’ve always done it, the last person out will need to call Ameren to have the electric turned off.
God continually calls us to change... to grow... to be molded into something new, something different, something life giving. That doesn’t mean we simply embrace everything the culture around us embraces, it simply means that the church is called at all times, and in all places, to proclaim freedom and grace in the name of Jesus Christ.
God never changes... but we are always called to grow in our knowledge of, worship of, and practice of being disciples. There’s so much more of our unchanging God we are yet to discover. Freedom that is unimaginable to our 2018 minds! Who knows... the decisions and breakthroughs we make today just might save someone’s life in Jesus name.
Pentecost is almost upon us. May we, the congregation of souls called Nameoki, feel again a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit blowing through us.