Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. If you find this devotion meaningful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.
He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth to speak in parables;
I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”
Being a Seed, Becoming Yeast
It’s easy for members of mainline, traditional congregations to become discouraged nowadays. I mean, the numbers don’t look good, with an aging membership and fewer and fewer young people claiming any religious commitment at all. And when we were sleeping, a shift seems to have occurred to the expectations of those who are looking to attend worship. Rather than that old-fashion, community orientation, with long-time members going through services that are comfortable and predictable, people want to get more out of worship than a feeling that they’re a part of a group; they want to experience God is a special way, which means the old hymns and the unison readings just don’t seem to cut it anymore. And even if you recognize the challenges that comes with this shift and want to meet them, not only are there all kinds of internal forces who push to roll the clocks back, we who’ve been in the traditional church our whole lives just don’t know what to do. And often those who do prefer to start a new congregation than trying to help the old. And so there we are, losing a war that we didn’t start and feeling tired and discouraged.