God Running Wild
At the 3 day retreat I took by myself a few weeks ago, there was a section of the retreat property called “The Path of Many Faiths.” There were 8 paths total: Jewish, African, Muslim, Native American, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, and St. Francis. Each path had its own section with appropriate signage and plants in some type of design. For 2022, the retreat center is letting the areas “lie fallow with as little human interaction as possible.” They want to see what will happen if they allow nature to take its course with these sections. They are letting nature run wild.
As I walked through the paths, I saw this in action. At some sections I could make out a design in the plants. Others were so overgrown that it was hard to tell that any design had been planted there. On some, the boundaries between the section and the path around the section were no longer clear. At one section, one part of the path around the section had become completely overgrown - humans could no longer pass by that way. Nature was indeed running wild.
Over the past 2 years of this pandemic, a question has been asked ever more fervently by many Christians: “What will the future of church look like?” We here at Christ United can identify with this question in our statement of being the “Church of the Future.”
What if we applied this idea of letting nature run wild, to our churches?
What if we let God run wild in our churches without any human restrictions?
This may be the only way to know what the future of church will be: to let God run wild and see what happens. We may need to actually and truly let go, and let God.
This can be scary.
Letting God run wild means we have to be open and flexible. God may want to take the church in a direction that we don’t want it to go. It might be hard to make out any design in what God is doing. Some pathways may be completely blocked. Other pathways may stay wholly intact. The boundaries we have set up around God may become fuzzy.
In my own walk of faith, every time I feel like I have Jesus figured out, Jesus runs wild. I learn something new about Jesus that makes me have to redefine who Jesus is. While that may seem like my faith is built on sandy ground, I disagree. It keeps my faith built only on Jesus, and nothing more. “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” is how that old hymn goes. And Jesus is indeed solid ground, even when that ground is redefined.
The retreat center has a limit on this wild time for “The Path of Many Faiths.” They are waiting until September of 2022 before they start making any plans or next steps for what to do with it. For the time being they only want to observe and see what happens.
For us at Christ United, I believe we can both let God run wild, but also start making plans. While I have been observing and learning about you all, I’ve come up with some initial plans and ideas. Those on the Steering Team have also brought their plans and ideas to our meetings. Over the last few months we’ve been working on solidifying all of these plans. You’ve heard about some, and will hear about others soon.
God already has been running wild at Christ United. We can open ourselves up to seeing what God is up to.
Peace and blessings,