Most people would agree that the church needs a transfiguration. She must become a more effective presence in the world. She must become more relevant in her mission to meet human hunger, in all its forms. But, before we can appreciate the scope of such a transfiguration, a veil must be lifted from our spiritual eyes. From 1996 to 2000, I experienced such a lifting. I freely admit that I was unaware of my blindness until the lifting process started.
As the veil was removed, layer by layer, I was introduced to some of the most familiar words in the Bible—words that I had read a hundred times over—yet suddenly the words revealed perspectives that had not previously entered my thinking. Old words turned to new understandings.
Lifting the layers of a veil is an issue of spiritual timing and readiness. Everyone lives with the same veil and, like me, we don’t know the veil exists. Removing layers of the veil is a God-thing. It will happen for each of us when it’s meant to happen! To begin the unveiling, we need only admit to the following: We don’t know everything there is to know about God, Jesus, Spirit or the Bible! It’s a simple admission that will enable us to move into the church of tomorrow with an open mind.
At this point I can offer a foundational image to consider. I believe the church of tomorrow will have a different type of clock in her head, a spiritual key in her heart, and an organizational net in her hands.
The Clock, The Key, and The Net are three tools that address the subjects of time orientation, a common spiritual language, and an organizational model for universal caregiving. The tools are not trendy. They won’t capture our attention, like the latest fad, or the newest voice among the world’s influential thinkers.
No. By contrast to anything hip or trendy, these tools are quietly veiled beneath layers of more obvious information in Scripture. These three administrative tools are written into ancient texts, waiting to be seen, understood, and used by the church. That said, it would be easy to dismiss their importance, as essential tools for the church’s future thinking, being, and doing. We tend to think that everything to be gleaned from the Bible has already been gleaned. Not so.
The Clock, The Key, and The Net have not been hidden from our eyes, unless hiding in plain sight counts. Everything we need to move forward is given to us in the words of ancient text. But, we must be given the eyes to see.
That is what an unveiling is all about. It gives us the eyes to see what we had not been able to see before the veil was lifted.
It is often said that God gives us what we need before we know that we need it. We may not know that we need a clock, a key, or a net, but we can be certain that old inspirations, written over 2,000 years ago, are capable of speaking to the church in new ways, as time moves forward into the church of tomorrow.