I just saw “Warm Bodies,” another movie about apocalypse with zombies walking around eating living human beings. The “corpses” could be cured with love but the “bonies” were too far off for salvation. For the “corpses” to be cured they needed to establish connections with the living. This was scary for the living because “corpses” used to eat them. It is in that transition that the main character, the first zombie to experience the healing process, says, “. . . new things are scary at the beginning.”
We believe in a God who makes all things new. A God who promises, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19) We believe in a God who makes us new, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) But even when it is God’s doing, new things are scary at the beginning.
We look at the decline of the mainline protestant denominations and some diagnose it as ill, others as dying, and yet others as pregnant. Those who think the declining church is pregnant are focusing in the hope that God can and is making new things in the church. Those who think the church is dying are mourning the loss and hoping that God will save it. We all want to hope. And maybe it is love that will bring the life back to the church. Maybe the church needs to connect with the others, with those different. Maybe in humane relationships the church will find new life. I believe God is already doing this. I see it in the “emergent church” that embraces cultural diversity, flat table relationships, artistic expressions, and new ways of being. But loving those who used to hurt us is scary. Watching how God transforms us is scary because living into new things is scary; but just at the beginning.