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24th April - Thought For The Day - Laying Down A New Route

Laying Down a New Route

A few weeks ago when travelling to somewhere familiar, I got diverted around the back streets because of a new road layout that was being put into operation. Despite knowing more or less where I was, I found myself driving up roads that I wasn’t particularly familiar with, and seeing buildings that I did recognise, but from a different perspective. Buildings that normally I wouldn’t look twice at, but when they’re being used to identify where you are in relation to where you’re heading, take on a different dimension.

We’re living in days where normal life for most of us has been diverted. Where the path that we thought we were travelling on has been temporarily closed, and we are having to lay down a new route. And that challenges us, because it stops us taking things for granted, it stops us ‘living on automatic’ and it has the potential to unnerve us because we have to really think about where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there. And that extends to the ways we worship, the way we look at church and the encounters that we have with Jesus as He meets us in familiar places that have taken on an unfamiliar dimension.

Photo by Jake Blucker via Unsplash

Perhaps one of the good things to come out of the challenging situation that we’re currently in is that we will be able to choose whether or not we want to get back on the familiar path of church, or whether we will have realised that actually we’re more tuned into what God is saying to us when we’re relying on Him to lead us through unfamiliar territory, and that maybe the time has come to look at what our local church should and could look like.

Neuroimaging has shown that as we age, the centre of cognitive gravity (our understanding) tends to shift from the imaginative right side of the brain to the logical left. Author Mark Batterson says:

‘This neurological shift presents a grave spiritual danger. At some point, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. Instead of creating the future, we start repeating the past. Instead of living by faith we live by logic. We go after dreams that don’t require prayer. And the God who is able to do immeasurably more than all our right brain can imagine is supplanted by a god who fits within the logical constraints of our left brain. We live out of muscle memory.’

This present crisis has meant that it’s currently impossible to repeat the past in terms of how we worship on a collective level and whether willingly or not, we are finding different ways to connect and also to reach out. Our road map is changing, and there is much to be gained from laying down a new route where we’re not in control and where we can’t just do things the way we’ve always done them. That doesn’t mean that some familiar things shouldn’t be taken forward into the new normal, it just means that perhaps now is a good opportunity to relinquish control of those things that we’ve held onto so tightly, and allow God to be the route layer, diverting us as and when it’s necessary, knowing that he sees the whole route rather than just the section we happen to be on at the moment.

‘The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.’ AW Tozer

- Bev Jones


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