BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JON PAUSLEY - OKOBOJI BIBLE CONFERENCE MINISTRIES
Have you ever had somebody say something that stuck with you? It could be something that you know is true but said at just the right time, and in just the right context, it strikes you in a whole new way.
I was recently in a meeting with Michael Gewecke, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Spirit Lake, when this took place. Michael simply said: "Death and rebirth is a central part of the Christian story."
The central tenant of the Christian faith is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus — death and rebirth. We go through these moments of "death" in our lives all the time. The death of something does not have to be physical. It could be the death of a relationship, the death of a job or the death of a particular stage of life.
When used rightly these deaths can lead us into new growth. The problem is that death is not pleasant.
Jesus said in John 12:24: "I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
Jesus was speaking prophetically of his own death in this specific context. His own death and resurrection would make it possible for humanity to be reborn into relationship with God. His death would lead to the spiritual rebirth of those who place their faith and trust in him — death and rebirth.
The death of our "normal" amidst COVID-19 has not been pleasant. There has been talk, maybe too much talk, about the return to normal. Perhaps we need to reframe the way we view how the world has changed since COVID-19. Perhaps we should view what we believed to be "normal" as a death. Death involves grief, pain, and loss. We can all relate here. However, death can also mean rebirth, and according to Jesus not just rebirth but rebirth and growth.
The Bible talks often about dying to our own agendas so that we can be reborn with a new agenda. An agenda that grows beyond us. If we let what was once considered "normal" die, what could be reborn? What could be the impact? This answer could be quite different for all of us. How about we reframe our thinking from ‘new normal' to death and rebirth?
A beauty of the Bible is the unique way it speaks to our human condition. Death and rebirth is a reality to all of us. I pray you might consider in what ways death and rebirth can impact your life amidst our current human condition. While you are at it, I urge you to consider the Death and Rebirth of Jesus as a central point of faith in your life and the means to a spiritual rebirth in relationship with God.