The Year of Reimagining

by | Apr 11, 2023 | Pastor's Blog

During the year 2023, we are focusing on the theme of reimagining. So far this year we have reflected on discernment, how we recognize and respond to the presence and activity of God in our lives, and we have gone deeper in the Gospel of Luke. Over the summer and into the fall, we’ll be diving into Acts as a continuation of our Luke study and the theme of reimagining. 

I have heard it from many members of our congregation. We’re not the same church as we once were. That is true not just for us, but for all congregations. None of us are the same as we were 10 or 15 years ago or even before the pandemic. The hope is that we are always changing and growing. The same is true for the church. We’re always changing. Either we can be forced to change, or we can embrace the opportunity to be transformed. 

Another way to consider this is to reimagine. The simple definition of this word is to imagine again or anew, to form a new concept of and re-create. The church has been reimagined and re-created time and again. I think about Martin Luther and the Great Reformation around 500 years ago. We could go back roughly another 500 years and look at how the Eastern and Western churches split in what we call the Great Schism. Roughly 500 years before that we saw the collapse of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Dark Ages. 

Much of the above is outlined by the late scholar, theologian and author Phylllis Tickle, who wrote about how we are now in a time of the Great Emergence. As she put it, the church seems to go through “The 500-Year Rummage Sale,” where the church changes and cleans house. What she means by this is that the church decides what to keep and dispose of to make room for new things. 

Change, Renewal, and Emergence

If we are in a time of change, renewal, and emergence, then what is God calling us to reimagine today? Perhaps we can draw to mind the verse from Ephesians 3: 20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” 

What do you imagine for your own life? Maybe a renewed faith, a new sense of purpose, or more life energy. Take those things to God in prayer. Talk with a trusted friend about how God is inviting you to reimagine. 

How is God inviting us to reimagine how we are church together? I imagine a body of believers so passionate about their faith that worship is overflowing not with people alone but also with God’s praises. I imagine people devoted to constant prayer both corporately and individually, studying Scripture and discussing faith, and serving our community in a way where lives are changed and deep relationships are formed. 

I know that God can do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. Perhaps God is calling me and all of us to simply surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit and to allow the Spirit’s presence to help us reimagine church, life and even faith. 

Source: The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why by Phyllis Tickle