Ripples on the River – November 2019

If you attended our Easter Sunrise Service, you may have noticed that the cuckoo clock in the dining room needed resurrection.

I bought the clock made in West Germany in Geneva when I was participating in a World Council of Churches Ecumenical Institute course for young pastors. (There are two clues to let you know how old the clock is.)

I finally took it into the clock repair shop. There was bad news and good news: the clock mechanism was dead, beyond repair, and the exact works could not be replaced. The good news was that it was worth the price to install new works with new songs that play on the hour and half hour.
It’s nice to have the clock back, keeping time with the little dancers, and bringing music to our home in addition to our other clocks. I’m getting used to the new songs. The clock looks the same except for the shiny new chains holding the weights that make it tick.

This clock experience got me to thinking about churches. When they’re not working, some think the answer is to replace everything on the exterior—a new shell, whether it’s the building or style of worship. They can lose some of their identity, which isn’t always a bad thing.

Others keep the old shell and try to keep the old works inside operating even if it’s not playing any music. Or they maintain the housing for pure decoration for a clock that doesn’t keep time.

Jesus talked about the scribes in the kingdom of heaven who brought new and old treasures—traditions of faith and new insights. (Matthew 13:52)
May we find the treasure of that balance in using valued “old” housing and enjoying new songs that mark the time.

In Christ,