LENT: PREPARING FOR REBIRTH
In her book The Book of Common Power, Donna Schaper wrote about her dismay when she learned that her good friend did not compost. She could not imagine how anyone would not revel in the way that decaying matter would become the hotbed for growing new things. She knew that in order for life to come from a seed, it had to be planted into the
darkness of the earth, where its own decay would give way to a new green shoot that would make its way to the surface, growing toward the light that would bring it to full maturity and productivity.
This past Sunday I participated in the morning worship service at Memorial Baptist Church here in Savannah. On Sunday, her forty-nine year history as Memorial came to an end as the congregation dissolved the church. It was a bittersweet time for me and for others. We
remembered significant events that had taken place inside its walls – births, professions of faith, baptisms, baby dedications, weddings, and even funerals. It was there I found my call to the pastorate realized. It was there I met and married James. It was there I baptized our oldest grandson and dedicated our youngest grandson and
granddaughter. There was much work for the Kingdom of God in that place. And now, Memorial Baptist Church as she was known is no more.
Dissolving Memorial is significant, not because it brings a wonderful institution to its death, but because of the potential that can rise from its own decay. On Easter Sunday morning, the congregants that once called themselves Memorial will begin again as New Day Fellowship, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregation.
The difference for them is that they will begin with the desire to be a missional church whose mode of operation will be intentional involvement in understanding the needs of the people in its world. And it will be in that understanding that they will reach out to minister to those God will allow them to encounter. Theirs is, I believe, an Easter story. There is sadness now. The Church they loved so well is gone, but God is doing a new thing with them, and he is their hope. The disciples on the road to Emmaus following the death of
Jesus said “We had hoped that he would be the one to redeem Israel.” They would soon learn that he was. Thanks be to God for the Light of Life that redeems and makes all things new.
– Carolyn Hale Cubbedge