” Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19
On October 30, I will say good-bye to a good friend, colleague and mentor. For the past 10 years I have worked along side Carl at Martins Creek Mennonite and have learned about pastoral ministry, the good that is found in the Church and community and life with Jesus. He has challenged me, critiqued me (which is very different from criticizing) and encouraged me. I will miss him. It’s weird that this seems like a death and words that I would read at a funeral.
The reality is that that God is simply doing something new and I get to be a part of that. But that is the difficult part – a new thing. The old is comfortable, predictable and easy. I know how to work with Carl. I know how to “do” youth ministry. I know how to operate in my role as an associate/youth pastor at MCMC under Carl. I don’t know how to do the “new thing” very well. I think that is why it seems so sad and death like. Because that’s what it is: death to the old in order to experience something new. God is doing something new and when I place my life up to what he is doing, I see death. The old way is no longer a part of the new thing.
So, I have a choice. I can embrace this new thing that God is doing or I can stand in protest against him and hang on to the old. Which is really the choice that all of us will need to make many times in our lives. Will we embrace the new thing or hang on to the old comfortable thing like a familiar blankie we had as kids? The old, ratted blankie was dirty and torn and problem was the cause to many rashes and health related issues. Once we got rid of the blankie we were able to move on to something new and better and didn’t contain remnants of snot, dirt and macaroni and cheese.
I will miss Carl. I will miss the old way. I will probably not enjoy the new thing right away. But sometime down the road, I will need to give up this comfortable new thing. This new thing that I am protesting now will become my new reality and I will cherish it and love it and hate to see it go. God is always up to something new and the only way to be a part of it is to leave the old thing, to let it die. I’m sure it will be a good death with an even better new birth.