The last wall of the old Settles Auto Glass building on Main Street was being torn down when I drove by recently. Gone, baby, gone. I never shopped at Settles and I don’t know anything about why it went out of business. Ever since it closed, I’ve been hoping something lovely would move in — maybe a bookstore, or a cafe or a co-op grocery.
But even though I had been hoping for change, it was a bit jarring to see the building gone. I’m not great at imagining new things. I’m better at imagining renovations to existing things: I have the urge to slap a fresh coat of paint on the wall, to move the furniture, or to get a group of people to brainstorm new purposes for existing structures. Clean slate-ism is hard for me, which is why I admire church planters, emergent community leaders, and entrepreneurs of all types.
Folks I know are talking about, writing about, yearning for or fretting over the “reinvention of church.” Everything must change, it seems. “Behold, I am doing a new thing,” God seems to be saying, again. I’m curious to see what’s next. I’m not worried. But I know that there’s a part of me that wishes God’s pronouncement was, “Behold, I am slapping a new coat of paint on an old thing.”
God, open my heart to what is truly new. Let me respond to change with less fear and more wonder. Help me to know when to scratch my plans and when to simply adjust them. Let me know when to tinker and when to toss; when to renovate and when to help clear the site so that others may build something new. Thanks for putting me in a time and place where so much is emerging, and thank you for good companions with whom to sort things out. That’s all for now. Amen.