There are two pillars in my life that have been constant from my earliest memories: my family and my church. In fact, in most of my memories the two are inseparable. My parents met in CYF (Christian Youth Fellowship) in the church I grew up in – and church has been central to their lives ever since. While they may have moved a few times (and attended different Disciple’s churches), their commitment never changed. A number of years ago, they moved back to the neighborhood where I grew up. My mother is now the part-time organist and my father is once again involved in leadership in the very same church where they met as children.
The family and the church are the two primary touch points of my life – and I know they are for many others as well. That is why changes in either can be so difficult. We remember how things were in the past and we want that to continue. How wonderful it would be if we could take a moment in time and just stay there for awhile – changeless, secure and comfortable. Loved ones would never die or move away. Children would never grow up and leave the nest. Nothing would ever change. But, of course, that is not only impossible, it would also be the opposite of the kind of life God desires for us.
Circumstances do change. People do die and move away. But children are also born. New friends come into our lives. People are redeemed and God’s church is infused with new spirit and love.
This coming week, we will be celebrating Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. On Pentecost Sunday, we remember and celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. One of the primary purposes of the Holy Spirit was (and is) to lead God’s church in new directions. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life or in a church’s life will automatically mean change and growth. That doesn’t mean fundamental values are abandoned. It only means God has never stopped working.
With God there is no such thing as retirement. God continues to work in our lives as long as we are able to draw breath. And, of course, even in death that relationship doesn’t change – it just draws us closer to him.
God is at work in your life right now. God is calling you to new ways of living, thinking, worshiping and relating – whether you are nine or ninety. God has never stopped working your family or your church. The question is: have you?