Mourning the Past or Midwifing the Future?

by Christine Sine

Yesterday as I watched the joyous rescue of the Chilean miners and their literal rebirth into a new world, I was reminded of this saying from a conference I attended last year.

In times of transition we all have the opportunity to mourn the past or midwife the future.  We can either weep about what has happened or anticipate and bring the new future into being.  Our world is going through some major transitions at the moment. Concerns about climate change, political and economic upheaval, changing church and faith all make us many of us feel we have just jumped out of a plane without a parachute.  But in the midst of these changes we have an incredible opportunity to birth something new.

Just as the rescue of these miners filled us with hope, so can our anticipation for the future – for God’s future that is.  Times of transition are opportunities us to give birth to new communities that draw us closer to God and to God’s kingdom ways.  But we need to be willing to let go of the past for that to happen.

Imagine what could have happened if the first miner had been unwilling to step into that capsule to reach the surface.  After all 69 days in their tomb must have made them feel fairly secure, in spite of the severe limitations of the life it offered.  And imagine what could happen to us and to the practice of Christian faith in our society if we are unwilling to step out and give birth to the new things that God has imagined for our world.

Spirituality is meant to be the connection between what we believe and the experiences of everyday life – not life as it was but life as it can become.  All aspects of life are impregnated with the presence of God and I think that the responsibility of Christian discipleship during a season of change and turmoil like this is to do all that is possible that the new that emerges is health, more humane, more compassionate and loving towards neighbours near and far.

Most important for all of us at this time is to be looking, listening and rejoicing the signs of new life that we see – new communities of mutual care, new expressions of faith, new churches, and new awareness of the interrelatedness of all God’s creation and our need to be better stewards of it.  And at the same time it is very important for us to practice letting go – learning to be grateful for the foundations of the past but seeing them as stepping stones to God’s future rather than a solid immovable building.

What do you think?

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