Kindred in Christ,
The artist Scott Erickson (whose work involves liturgy and faith) recently posted the art piece above on his Instagram account with the caption, “If you love the form, you have everything to lose. If you love WHAT gives it form, you’re free to receive whatever it is turning into.” The depiction of a church building crumbling in an hourglass is a provocative metaphor of the effects of an evolving culture upon stagnant religious structures and formulas. Seemingly tried and true ways of doing church will die over time as society shifts, but what gave these structures life in the first place will continue to give life to new ways of gathering, worshiping, and following Jesus that are relevant in the present moment—the image suggests.
Yet for us, Erickson’s image hits in a literal sense as well. Our physical building will soon begin to be demolished, and we will await the construction of something new. While it is appropriate to grieve what we are losing (and we will gather for a viewing of the demolition in June, stay tuned for more details), this season provides us a unique opportunity to ask, “WHAT is beneath the form of our religion?” “WHAT is the thing that gave it life in the first place and that will give life to something new?” If we can tap into that, then (as Erickson suggests) “you’re free to receive whatever it is turning into.” This is one of the great gifts of the wilderness—the invitation to strip things down and reflect what is at the heart of our faith, and our being.
I look forward to continuing to journey the wilderness with you and hope to see you this Sunday on Facebook Live as we continue in our series, Lessons from the Wilderness!
– Rev. Paul Ortiz