Our reading for this Sunday from the gospel of John and its imagery of being born again used to always elicit a sigh of annoyance from my mind. The idea of being born again takes me right back to my days in high school where some of the Christians I knew would use that language about their faith. It always felt so exclusive to me, the way they described how Jesus came into their heart and radically changed their life. I remember wondering, why hasn’t God done that for me? Have I not said the right words? Is my church bad or ineffective? The born again movement was a revival that began way before my high school days and means a lot to some strands of Christianity. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more curious than certain...and as I have employed that mindset, passages like this one have new meaning for me...my mind has been born again, if you will!
Jesus and Nicodemus are talking past one another about birth, and maybe because I have had kids and the idea of being born involves pain, life changes, and suffering (in addition to an amazing experience, I know!) the idea of birth is not romantic to me. The bringing of a new life into the world is messy, filled with a myriad of emotions, and results in a mom having to heal for quite some time. In other words, it is not easy! And so as I ponder with all of you and with our staff what the next months look like as we come together for outdoor meals, fellowship events, and in-person moments, it is clear that while we will have great joy, it will also be a slow unraveling of some of the habits that we have made for ourselves over the past year. We will need to be respectful of distancing, of those who have young kids and are not vaccinated. And it may very well feel awkward and unsafe to be inside worshipping; and that awkwardness may effect how it now feels to be in our lovely sanctuary with people we care about.
There are many emotions and feelings that may be part of us re-gathering and re-connecting. And I want you to know that it is ok to feel all the feelings about this transition back. We’re taking it slowly, offering opportunities for volunteering and small gatherings throughout the month of June. We invite you to come to one or all of them. And know that if we don’t see you we’ll be reaching out to check on you as we all are born again into this curious time in our world’s life.