Today’s Author: Scott Tunseth
I know we are beginning to have Christmas on our minds, but this devotion isn’t about the Bethlehem star. I’m talking about the church, and Prince of Peace specifically. What kind of star will we be?
I edited a book this summer by two Canadian authors, Professor Rob Fennel and Pastor Russell Daye, who wrote about their multi-year study of churches that were thriving when those faith communities probably should have been fizzling out. It’s a hopeful collection of stories and well-written. In the epilog of the book, they sort summarize the possibilities for mainline churches in the current challenging times of well-documented decline.
They say that some congregations will die a quiet, slow, dignified death like a dwarf star. Others will become black holes, sucking in resources of time, money, and energy without giving much in return to the universe around them. But a few Christian communities (maybe ours?) will become supernovas, which the authors describe this way:
They will trust wherever the Spirit leads them—out into the community, off the page into the unknown and unwritten—always drawing them outward and making them ever more radiant in Christ. They will pour themselves out, throwing fire and light into greater and wider orbits, drawing in neighbors and connecting with partners . . . They will give themselves fully to the mission of God, say “yes” over and over, keep learning, embrace leadership, take courageous risks . . . and turn themselves inside out for the greater good of the communities around them and the wider world. They will exist for the reason the Holy Spirit first called the church into being: to serve the world God loves.
Supernovas don’t last forever either. But what a way to go. (p. 137)
It’s a good time of year to think about the Bethlehem star, but I’m also going to be thinking about what kind of star Prince of Peace is and will be.
The heavens declare your glory, O God, and remind us of endless possibilities. Inspire and guide us to be supernovas together in community and in our daily lives. Amen
“Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community. If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contact Pastor Peter.“