In our house we move furniture. It’s not as spiritual as studying the feng shui of the space, but it is not far off. We study the room, move furniture into potential locations and then sit for a moment to experience the feel of the room. When the room feels good, then the furniture remains in that place.
This is a rather common practice for most people with one exception. We do this process every three or four months. Our furniture never stays in the same place too long. Even when we like the placement, a time will come where we just need something new.
It never occurred to me this was a unique trait until I started making home visits as a pastor. The majority of families decided where furniture would be placed and there it remained. Only to move when some new piece was added or an old piece replaced. The staff at Camp Shalom once told me they liked coming to our house to see where our furniture would be placed this time.
New is a concept our hearts yearn to experience, but our minds find exhausting. The age of hyper-technology may force us to adapt to new things, but people still love consistency, repetition, and patterns. It calms us in a world of constant change. However, if we don’t invite change our patterns can become stagnate and lifeless. Before you know it our routine becomes a rut.
Nowhere is the confusion of balancing routine with change experienced more than in the church. There seems to be a divide between people who want to change it all and those who find comfort in the enduring rituals of faith. Yet, even the people who want to change it all still yearn for routine. Unfortunately, there is no one right answer, only Christ.
In the center of our faith life, whether personal or corporate, stands Jesus who constantly invites us into something new. Jesus does this because to move into something new requires trust. The results are not known. Routines and patterns can seduce us with a false sense of security. We start to develop trust in our own abilities instead of a dynamic God. New wine requires new wineskins. And new wineskins require us to retire the old ones. What do you need to retire in your spiritual life to find a sense of new life grounded in trust? (Lk 5: 33-39)