Ever notice that the biblical “all things new” is less easily applied to things we don’t want changed? This hit home recently as I sat in my fourth ever (yes, that’s one per decade) membership class for a church we’ve been attending for more than a year.
Fortunately, the Lord, in His wisdom provided a fairly quick pace to the process of changing not just to a new churches but also to a new denomination. I realize that this is insider speak. I have lived my life in church and love it still. I can vividly recall the wooden rafters in the church I spent every Sunday morning as well as Sunday night and Wednesday night and whenever else the doors were open it seemed. My grandparents went there and we sat with them in the same pew every week. Not so big on change. Then we moved. It was a HUGE deal.
We visited many churches. I don’t know where my parents were members, or even if they became members anywhere during that decade. I went away to college and joined a church within walking distance freshman year. Besides the New Zealand accent of the pastor and free after church dinners it was a place where the Scripture was loved and preached, not specific to students, but to all who attended, believers called to live out faith wherever the Lord had placed them.
It surprises me that I am so resistant to my current changes. They are not bad. They are good, and healthy. We have met wonderful people who love us and love Jesus. They pray, and seek, and listen, and believe, and expect. All good stuff. They do things differently. They have another angle. “This is not the table of…fill in the blank church name…It is the table of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Words I have heard all my life. Yet, until recently not particularly applicable. God is not Presbyterian. A statement I affirm, I have even said it to nonPresby members of Bible studies to make them feel better. Yet, here it is lived out. The bigness of grace and the smallness of my preferences.
And suddenly I’m struck by the wine skin verses. You have to put new wine in new wine skins or the old ones will burst. Making all things new is so that our old selves will be done away with. God creates for us new selves that can accept the stretching that comes from renewing our minds and hearts to fit who He is and not who we have made Him to be.
Blessings for the stretching times! That you may feel Him in the newness and look forward to the path ahead.