The Renewal

The Renewal

In my 37 years I have had a handful of heart transplants. My daughters have maybe had a couple. I am grateful for that.

It was a bit of a gray Sunday outside of our local Church in Askim, Norway. Me and my oldest daughter were ready to receive the children for Sunday school. That Sunday we set a record. A bottom record. The attendance remained at two - me and Susanne.

This was the turning point. No more. Either we change our course radically, or we choose to close down. We had hit rock bottom.

Through a systematic renewal process with inspiration and material from both Willow Creek and our Sunday School association, our Sunday school today is a vital and vibrant Sunday school where many children enjoy themselves and get to know Jesus.

Everything living is rooted in renewal. God has deviced it that way. That which is renewed lives on, and that which stops to renew, withers and dies.

Did you know that your body renews itself constantly? All cells in the body except for the central nervous system and scar tissue renews itself your entire life. And this affects more than hair and nails. After a few years you have a whole new heart, liver, kidneys and skeleton. It is only this type of "natural" heart transplant that we have gone through in my family, and for that we are grateful.

Renewal is not simple. It requires you to realize the present situation, having a common target, and working in a fitting speed - not too slow and not too quick.

On our bodies, we not only see how the renewal happens as God intended, but we can also observe the consequences of sin in this world. There is a lesson to be learnt from this.

When a group of cells stop taking part in the renewal that the rest of the body partakes in, you will get gangrene, and the whole body is in danger of dying. The only cure is an utterly painful one - to cut off that limb.

When a group of cells renew in a raging pace - out of touch with the rest of the body - the situation is no less dramatic. The body has cancer, and unless this is cut off, the whole body will be destroyed.

Renewal requires balance and a great amount of team playing. But it also requires from time to time that painful procedures are carried through where the renewal has either stopped or where it has run wild without considering the whole of the organization.

Let me end by greeting you with an excerpt from Romans 12:2:

"be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

For the individual it starts there - by seeking God where he can be found - in His word and the sacraments, in the fellowship, prayer and worship, and through him speaking to us as individuals and congregations.

Variations of this article has been printed in the Norwegian Sunday School magazine in 2008 and in the Lutheran Renewal magazine Oasen in 2009

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