What is the church going to look like when we emerge from the tomb of quarantine? Jesus’ appearance had changed; will ours? The person, the church who emerges from quarantine doesn’t have to be the same old person or institution. And what better time for transformation than now, when we have this new opportunity to reinvent ourselves and the church! Let’s bring our best selves, our best imitation of Jesus and literally be The Palms of Jesus.
Changing a trait requires acting in ways that embody that trait, rather than simply thinking about it or expecting it to magically appear. Richard Wiseman, a psychology professor at the University of Hertfordshire, described it in “The As If Principle.” His thinking — you can behave “as if” you are the person you want to be. Pretty soon, you might find that it is you.
The church before the pandemic was seeing that some changes needed to be made to our organizational structure. Our constitution and bylaws had served the church well, but now it was time to look in new directions and build a structure that was more flexible and met the needs of the church today. Then the pandemic hit. That gave us the opportunity to think and pray and read and pray and work and pray.
Emerging from that is a proposed new constitution and bylaws that are simpler and designed to meet our ministry opportunities now and in future years. Adjusting our sails is a daily thing for us humans, and that is especially true when we assemble together.
My Easter sermon to you said, “Because we are a resurrection people, quarantine didn’t break your church! It taught us to lose our fear and go up on the roof (hear solar panels) and out into the streets (hear shower trailer ministry). When other churches struggled, we did not. The reason? It was not Pastor Jim or me. It wasn’t our Mod Squad or any other group. It was all of us working with God’s spirit to dream and do.” Sarah Ban Breathnach is a best-selling author who wrote, “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”