Monday, December 03, 2012

the advent of fresh expressions – the bare barrenness of tradition (part 1)

The Gospel of Luke begins with barrenness. An older couple. Faithful yet childless. It is like so much of the Church in the West today, older, faithful. Yet so often barren, with no living memory of church birth, no experience of participating in the life flow that is new communities.

The result is a wondering about one’s future, a quiet misgiving about the family line, the next generation of young people.

It is in this barrenness we glimpse the Spirit’s work. A promise of a fresh expression.

Luke 1:15-17 “He’ll drink neither wine nor beer. He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will herald God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children.”

Interesting that last phrase. The hearts of parents need softening. So often this is the way with fresh expressions. Parents simply don’t understand. Congregations need convincing. Of course the present will shape our future. Church is reduced to historic ways, discipleship to a rigid patterning.

Hearts being softened, of course, is essential to the advent of this fresh expression. In the following verses, the child is born. Elizabeth wants to name him John. But tradition speaks. Luke 1:61-62 “But,” they said, “no one in your family is named that.”

With this fresh expressions, times they are a changing.

This Advent, O Lord, soften the hearts of parents toward the next generation

Posted by steve at 08:08 AM


  1. Amen Brother….well said

    Comment by Jason Cormier — December 3, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  2. While I agree with the general sentiments it Is important to remember not all tradition brings barrenness and not all fresh expressions bring fruit (the title almost suggests that). It was in a very traditional setting that Zechariah received the promise which enabled fruitfulness. John brought a very fresh expression,.

    Comment by Aaron — December 3, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

  3. John is part 2,


    Comment by steve — December 3, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  4. Ahhh cool look forward to reading it.

    I know you were more dealing with the idea of a barren family being given hope of a future and comparing that to what fresh expressions can bring.. But if we are using this passage to encourage fresh expression does some thought need to be given to the tension that Zechariah encountered this promise when God breathed on a”traditional expression”

    Comment by Aaron — December 3, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  5. Beautiful, encouraging, hopeful ~ as always, thank you Steve.

    Comment by Nel Shallow — December 4, 2012 @ 5:56 am

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