This Sunday at THE MESSAGE (which is the evening service at Rothwell Baptist Church), I am to give a talk about Nicodemus. Nicodemus was the Jewish leader who went to see Jesus at the dead of night to find out what he was all about. Famously, Jesus told him that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven he had to be “Born Again” (You can read all about this conversation in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3).
Also, yesterday, I volunteered for a second time to be Wakefield Cathedral’s “Photographer of the day” in their “366 Days” project (http://www.366days.org.uk). If you didn’t know, Wakefield Cathedral is going through an extensive refurbishment programme; when I took photographs earlier in the year, they were removing the old pews, yesterday they were removing a load of scaffolding and it was interesting photographing the building works with the stained glass windows in the background.
When the Wakefield Cathedral project is complete, it will be a transformed space suiting its role as a working church at the centre of the community. It occurred to me that this project of transformation is like a re-birth analogous to what Jesus was talking about to Nicodemus. Jesus went on to say that what he meant was a spiritual re-birth, the life transformation that happens when someone becomes a Christian. Projects like Wakefield Cathedral however, take time, old infrastructure needs to be removed and painstaking work to re-build and preserve takes months, if not years.
It occurs to me that this is the same for anyone who becomes a Christian. Rather than instantly changing into a wise Jesus-like, figure who can do no wrong, they will learn and grow as they come to know God. We, with our rough edges and worn-out ideas are each long-term projects for God to transform. However, like the Cathedral we must let the builders in first and be prepared for radical change in our lives. In this analogy, the master builder of course is Jesus Christ and my suggestion is that if you haven’t done this already, you get him in as soon as possible to do a site survey!