The Red Wings, I think, are closer to the playoffs than the Tigers, but both are in a rebuilding mode. The Tigers appear to be on the fast track for the number one overall draft pick next spring. Stevie Y has brought new hope to Hockey Town. And I think, rather than spending too much time with the Lions or Pistons, this fan will live with his immediate expectations residing in Ann Arbor and East Lansing.
As I approached 66 earlier this year, I realized I needed to be in the same rebuilding mode. The initiating question was, “It is time for me to retire?” However, I soon discovered what our sports teams have been saying, “Rebuilding is complicated.” If I retire, what comes next … for me and for STL? If I don’t retire at this time, what kind of personal rebuild would this dictate?
Well, a month or three ago, after a variety of conversations and much prayer, I have decided to postpone thoughts of retirement at this time. That said, I do realize that I am not getting any younger – have you seen those pictures hanging outside the church office? In other words, it is time for me to do some rebuilding for the future.
Then I got to thinking. It was between 5-10 years ago that I stepped down from chairing a District Board that I had been on for over a decade – the Board needed a leadership rebuild, and I needed a ‘millennial rebuild.’ Less that 5 years ago my major rebuild came as STL decided to close our school. Twenty-five years ago the rebuild involved coming to STL, and more than a decade prior to that, when we returned from living in St. Louis for a year, 90% of our closest friends had left Michigan, never to return. We have been involved in some form of rebuild or another virtually our entire life – and our lives have been quite stable!
The bottom line is somewhat simple. God begins a rebuilding program in all of us on the day of our baptism – and this then continues until the day we die. The project is not completed until our bodies are raised to live in the new creation on the Last Day. And then add to that this reality: God is not only at work in us, but also through us – rebuilding all of creation – at the same time.
Here is our rebuilding story: “We were buried with Christ by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6.4) It then continues, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2.20) And for the rest of our lives – no matter our age – the project remains essentially the same. “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6.9-10)
I am not a finished product, and neither are you … we all need work, and through Word, Sacrament and the Body of Christ, God is performing that rebuild. This part of the equation is pretty easy for me to understand. The challenge comes in part two of God’s program of rebuilding the human race and all of creation: We all have been given work to do – by our Savior and Redeemer … no matter our age or story in life. We are the very construction crew through whom he is at work.
God is continually rebuilding us – transforming us into his image (2 Corinthians 3.18) and equipping us for the next phase in our new life (2 Timothy 3.17). Yet the work has not changed since Old Testament days … “He has told you, O man, what is good … to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6.8) So, what do you think he has in mind to do in you … and through you … today?