July 25, 2011

Letting the Spirit foster change

Paola Murias — stock.xchng
How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?
What do you mean, change? We’ve always had those light bulbs!

Despite our willingness to joke about being the “Frozen Chosen,” we Presbyterians are stuck in our ways, and we don’t like change. But when you look back at the 2,000-year history of the church, it has been nothing but change.

The first Christians were Jews who followed Jesus’ way. Then the church changed as more Gentiles joined, and you can read in the New Testament how Peter and Paul led the church through those changes.

In the first century, women were leaders in the church: Priscilla, Junia, Phoebe. Then that changed, and it was a millennia and a half before we had female church leaders again.

The Gospel is given to us as an inheritance, and as such, it must be passed on. But not in a dead, petrified way. The word of the lord is living and active, as is the Holy Spirit.

In the parable of the talents, the one who buries his talent, preserving it but not investing or earning interest on it, is scorned by his master.

In the same way, to pass down the faith unaltered and stagnant dishonors it. Faith directed by the Spirit should be re-thought, re-minted in each generation. The church reformed, always reforming.

Just don’t put in those spiral-ly fluorescent bulbs, and we’ll be fine.

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