– Where is the church’s attention focused?
Skoda – think of the skoda as the focus of the church’s attention???
- While our focus is upon our doctrine’s, or style of worship, our buildings, or generally preserving the instructional church, our neighbourhoods have been changing right before our eyes and we have failed to notice
- How much attention do our concerns about the church distract us?
- What changes in our neighbourhoods have we failed to pay attention to?
- Van changing to a taxi?
- Scooter changing to a pair of bicycles?
- Lady holding a pig
- The entire landscape has changed!
- Skoda is one of the oldest car companies in the world – Skoda has been around since they first began building automobiles
- The old Czechoslovakia
- Sold primarily to Eastern block countries
- Nobody really wants a skoda – they are cheap, unattractive cars – the image of the Skoda is tied up in a time when people weren’t free to buy the cars of their dreams and had to settle for a skoda
- Much like the image of the church
- There was once a certain Pharisee named Nicodemus
- Nicodemus represents the religious establishment
- Our story is told in a time when people were not free to choose their religion – the idea of being or believing something other than what the religious establishment told you went against the established norms
- People couldn’t change from one set of beliefs to another, from one tribe to another, without suffering enormous consequences
- As a powerful member of the Parisees, Nicodemus, a member of the ruling Sanhedrin, – think Bishop or Arch-Bishop at a time when religious leaders ruled society
- Nicodemus comes by cover of darkness, sort of skulks into the presence of Jesus in order to find out what all the fuss is about
- Jesus tells this powerful member of the Sanhedrin that everything he stands for, the wisdom of the ages, all the religious doctrine, all the institutional power, his tribes status quo – everything that Nicodemus considers truth, must be cast aside
- “The truth of the matter is, unless one is born again, one cannot see the kingdom of God.”
- Nicodemus is being asked go back to the very beginning! To begin again, to see the world, to see God in a whole new way
- Nicodemus cannot or will not
- Today, churches and members of churches are in much the same place as poor old Nicodemus – all that we hold dear is being challenged by the world around us
- “The truth of the matter is, unless one is born again, one cannot see the kin-dom of God.”
- Like Nicodemus we have blinders on, we have been so focused upon preserving all that we love about the church, a church that like the skoda, no body really wants.
- Who wants an unattractive cheap car?
- A cheap car that burns fuel that threatens the very survival of our planet
- Who wants a dying, old, cheap, church, a church whose doctrines have contributed to the violence and abuse that haunts the psyche of its members,
- Who wants to be part of an old dying church?
- The good news is that the old church will die – the symptoms of the disease that is killing the church are all around us
- The good news is that the church will die
- But just like Jesus, death will not have the final word!
- Death could not kill the teachings of Jesus
- Death could not kill Jesus’ dream of the kin-dom of God, the dream of a Way of being in the world that ensures that everyone has enough
- Death did not kill Jesus’ dream of peace through justice
- We are a people who lay claim to the power of resurrection to keep the dream alive
- Like Nicodemus, our focus upon maintaining the status quo, our desire to hold on to the things we love about the church, this focus may have blinded us to what has been going on for decades
– “The truth of the matter is, unless one is born again, one cannot see the kin-dom of God.”
Like Nicodemus, we too can be born again
- Our rebirth will be just as painful as any birth is
- There will be darkness and there will be pain and at times we will feel like we are drowning
- The womb that has protected us, the old ways, the doctrines, the status quo, these things will fall away
- Our creeds cannot protect us from everything we are learning about what it means to be human,
- Not even the doctrine of the Trinity can contain the meaning of the MYSTERY that we call God
- All our knowledge of the nature and wonder of creation will pale in comparison to the awe and majesty that will be instilled in us by all we have yet to learn
- Our rebirth will transform our being
- Jesus points us toward a new way of being in the world
- “The truth of the matter is, unless one is born again, one cannot see the kin-dom and the power and the glory, of the awesome realty of the MYSTERY, the LOVE that we call God.”
– Let us have the courage to suffer the birth-pangs so that we might be reborn into a reality that is beyond our wildest dreams!