Romans 6:3-5 – Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
As I’ve been pondering the transition (upon transition, upon transition) that Our Redeemer’s has been going through, and even now has embarked on yet another transition this month with Pastor Kathy’s retirement, the same image keeps coming up in my prayers for us – that of a chrysalis.
When a caterpillar creates its chrysalis, it does so without knowing that it is completely dismantling itself, turning to unrecognizable goo, only to re-emerge
as something it may not have even
A well-known symbol in Christianity as a symbol of the resurrection, the butterfly represents new life emerging from death. And this is something we can look forward to in the future, but we are definitely not there yet – thus, the chrysalis. How fitting for us to be entering our congregational transition time in Lent! Perhaps this ‘in-between time’ could be thought of as being cocooned in God’s love, changing from one thing to the next, not knowing what will come, but trusting in the process.
There are many things we don’t know about the future, and this congregation’s path. But I’d like to speak to what we do know:
1. God is faithful, and we are called to this community for a reason – to be “in the model of Christ for the life of the world.” That looks like: social justice and advocacy, caring for those who are hurting, praising God at every opportunity, and spending time together at table. We are good at this and will continue to grow in service to God and others.
2. We are strong in God’s love. This is a devoted community that holds each other together through change and growth. I’ve seen it, time and again! This period of transition will be one that creates fear and worry, but it can also be a time of great anticipation and hope. God has abundant plans for us that include JOY and STRETCHING. We will be STRETCHED in this interim – and while that may be uncomfortable, like an adolescent with long legs they’re not used to, it will lead to blessing. I pray that when we get worried or find ourselves mired in fear, that we can release those burdens, and ask for JOY in its place.
3. We have a great staff, council, and teams working hard to keep the congregation shipshape. They could use your help! If you have the capacity or desire to serve on a team, or in senior leadership, this is a great time to step up. We will be forming two new teams soon – a transition team and a call team. In your prayers, ask God to open your heart to serving at church – especially in the next year.
4. Our synod is working hard on our behalf to find us a great interim, and then a great new pastoral leader. It’s a very involved process, and we have strong advocates in our bishop and her staff. Thanks be to God!
As we move through this season of yet more transition, it is my prayer that we have grace for each other in the messy goo of the chrysalis, knowing that our time of new life is on the horizon!
Peace to you,