I am amazed at how we are people who live in the past. The events, circumstances and what was tend to hold us captive. In the life of the church we do this with a depth of connection to the past that is staggering. When we get confused, stressed or just are not sure what to do, we look at what God has done in the past. Then we go on to recreate or reconstruct the situation and circumstances based on how God has acted in the past. Most of life as a pastor has wrestled with this longing of people to go back to what was. This week as I was reading an insightful book by Tim Keel titled Intuitive Leadership, and the light went on.
I celebrate and am thankful for the ways in which God has been at work in the past. I would not be a follower of Christ today if it were not for the work of God in ages past. Now that we have reached a time and place when our world, more specifically the United States, is at a confusion point, people are out of sorts. The culture in which the church exists is very different than it has been in the past. The most common way through this is to look at what God has been doing. As Keel suggests with great mastery through the account of 1 Samuel 4, it is time to start seeking what God is doing right now.
Our God is a God of creativity, remember that is how we first encounter this God in scripture as creator. In the midst of the chaos and uncertainty of the present age, we should look for what God might be doing new in our midst. Going back to recreate what was does not mean that it was wrong, or bad, yet it might not be what God is doing this time. In fact on the extreme side of it going back can create idols without even realizing it. The activities, artifacts and actions of our past are not in and of themselves the point, it is the God who we meet in the midst. The God of creation, who continues to create and develop to this day.
The actions and practices which brought us this far hold great significance, still they cannot move us to the next place. I wonder what would happen if we the people of God began to ask what God is doing and listen for an answer, rather than telling God to act like the last time. What is God doing in our midst?