New Year...New Things

Isaiah 65:17- “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

A New Year, A New Start, A New Way of Thinking, A New Way of Being…The New Year brings many new opportunities for new things, new thoughts, new ideas, new beginnings, just to name a few.

Consider how some plants begin as tiny seeds and then sprout, and grow to massive plants that produce much fruit and many more seeds to begin the process all over again.

The new year of 2019 is fertile ground for new growth in the missions and ministries of Rome First. Consider these two possibilities for new or emergent ministries using some invaluable resources already in place at Rome First.
SERVE ROME continues to be a blessing for our SERVE ROME Partners and the ministries and non-profits they represent. There have been many new strategic alliances and synergistic cooperative ventures born out of the benefit of shared space. Construction on the Roof Top Connector and Prayer Garden is now complete and the finishing touches of furniture and plants will be complete in the Early Spring (More details on the “grand opening and ribbon cutting” to come in a future edition of The HERALD) Consider the possibilities of being able to use the new outside space to attract folks from the community who are interested in having a wedding, anniversary celebration, garden party, or small business gathering. Folks who might not ever consider entering the doors or buildings of Rome First as a place of worship are now requesting the opportunity to be exposed to the radical hospitality of God’s Love manifest through the collaborative shared space known as SERVE ROME.

SERVE ROME and The Rooftop Connector and Prayer Garden provide new ways to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of these valuable resources, we have been given fertile soil and presented with new opportunities to be “witnesses for the cause of Christ” by telling others about our personal encounters with the wonderful Love of God through Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the ultimate example of teaching by example. Jesus was clear in his instructions to his followers – do what I did and most of all point people toward God by telling them what I told you! – God is Love, Love God, and Love Others. Seek to be more like me (The Christ) by Loving ALL the Way God Loves.

What if we started a Dandelion Conspiracy? Let me explain, Dandelions have an efficient seed dispersion mechanism – the wind. In the Bible, the wind is often a metaphor for the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit to sow into your life is a force for good in the world. The Gospel of John reminds us-“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8 NRSV)

A seed of God’s Love has been sown into your life. Maybe it was sown there by your parents, grandparents or other family member. Or maybe it was a Sunday school Teacher or even a Teacher from school. The seed of God’s Love is not meant to exist alone and in a vacuum. What has been sown into your life has a purpose -To Glorify God! Imagine if the skills, talents, abilities and gifts that you possess were linked to the skills, talents, and gifts of others? What might the possibilities be?

Jesus used the image of seeds and many parables utilized metaphorical references to seeds, soil and fruit. Take for instance Jesus’ teaching in Matthew’s Gospel – “He (Jesus) answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; (Matthew 13:37-38a)

How do we “link” skills, talents and abilities? An important piece of the Dandelion Conspiracy is that the Dandelion doesn’t “know” what it is not supposed to be able to do. One of the wonders of seed dispersion by wind is that the lighter seeds can be dispersed many miles from the original location of the plant that produced the seed.

The wind is the mechanism for seed transport and literally bears the seed to new soil where the potential plant contained in the seed may sprout, take root and grow. The seed is immobile and inanimate, so the wind connects the potential present in the seed to the places where the possibility of new growth may occur.

Unlike the Dandelion seed, we are neither inanimate nor immobile. We are animated and mobile (Living and Moving) – So, is it possible for us to participate in a Dandelion Conspiracy? Are we willing to be moved by the Spirit of God and transported by the power of God’s Love and to be planted in fertile soil that will allow us to utilize the potential within us to bear fruit that will honor and glorify God?

We hope to discover the answer to that and other questions as ONE BOARD meets on Saturday, January 5, 2019 from 9 AM till Noon for a time of reflection and planning. ONE BOARD will consider and plan for ministry opportunities and expansions of missions within our immediate community and into the larger ministry context of the World. As One Board meets, we will ask the questions –“Are we ready to participate in a Dandelion Conspiracy? Are we willing to allow God to transport us to fertile soil and will we allow God’s Holy Spirit to be manifest in our lives in ways beyond our comprehension and abilities?” Dandelions don’t know what they can’t do, they just do what they were created to do. Spread and replicate.

As we plan for the future, I see a future that is filled with possibilities and promise – possibilities for sharing the Love of God near and far. Sharing God’s Love by allowing God’s Holy Spirit to “transport us” like the Dandelion seed to fertile soil that surrounds us. Participation in a Dandelion Conspiracy requires that we are willing to be used of, for and by God to be the church always on the move – nimble and accessible, relevant and real. Dandelions are prolific and ubiquitous. Manifestations of God’s Love are also prolific and ubiquitous and are not limited to only those who are inside the church, but like the wind that carries the dandelion seeds, God’s Holy Spirit carries the Love of God to even the most remote corner of the world and into even the seemingly hardened heart.

Remember, Dandelions are not constrained by the “laws” that are thought to govern or predict the outcomes in nature. Dandelions don’t know where they can’t grow – they simply go where the wind takes them, take root, sprout and start all over again.

I pray God’s blessings upon you and your home and all who dwell therein. I pray the presence of God’s Holy Spirit fills your life with Peace and Power. I pray you might come to realize the full measure of potential that is in you to share God’s Love here, there and everywhere!

The New Year brings folks “back” to church. It also is a time when people seek to begin “anew” and make a fresh start. Will you join me in continuing to create a warm, welcoming environment for all who come? And will you go where the Spirit of God leads us as we seek to offer the Love of Christ within the buildings at 202 East Second Ave and beyond the buildings and into the streets of Rome and beyond?

Robert ><>