I had a neat experience today. I walked across the old Big Four Railroad Bridge over the Ohio River. The historic bridge was saved and was re-purposed for pedestrians and bicycle traffic from Jeffersonville to Louisville. Instead of it being torn down and the steel turned into scrap it has brought lots of new people traffic to Jeffersonville and there is life and vitality on Spring Street.
It got me thinking about the ways in which we can find new life. Perhaps part of the resurrection we may experience in this life is re-purposing. That is where something that is no longer vital and life-giving is not just scrapped, but another that life-giving purpose is found.
For me it was the process of finding a new place and a new model for parish ministry that has re-purposed both Nancy and I. It has become a great blessing that we are living and able to share with others.
A good friend of ours left teaching because of health issues and with that leaving there was the threat of a void of meaning and positive contribution. The time she spent in teaching is now being divided among several charitable organizations, and she has become active in an on-line advocacy and support network. She tells me this is the best she has felt in several years. And she continues greatly contribute to and to affect lives. There is new life that is obvious to all who know her.
Each of us can intentionally choose to re purpose our life, our time or our resources to bring about the new life and resurrection we seek. Re-purposing takes intentionality and a willingness to let go of the former to embrace that which is new. Letting go of the familiar even when it is not functioning well or at all is still very difficult. But if we do not do so the guarantee is lessening life ending in death. To open ourselves to a new purpose may result in death but it will be a death that seeds the future for new life.