I have come to replace you. That is what babies are really saying when looking adoringly into your eyes. And, of course, where’s my lunch? Though perhaps then it’s not the eyes they are looking at.
I have come to replace you. When put like that, it sounds like a sci-fi film. But it is reality. We will not live forever. This is not our world to clutch hold of tightly like an angry toddler. Instead we are guardians of it, like parents, tending, caring, nurturing, but the whole point is we then let go.
I have some to replace you. Here’s the nub. Are we brave enough to embrace and nurture those who will change everything? Because that’s what we do with babies. They will take our jobs, our money, and yes, our church. Yet it is our responsibility to nurture them. So, do we make it easy, or make it hard?
I have come to replace you. As we get older we often fear change more. As Christians, who follow a God of change, who journeys with his people through desert and sea via occupation and liberation and ending in resurrection, we do not need to fear change.
I have come to replace you. Whatever position you hold in your church, look at those who will replace you. They may be much younger than you now. Don’t fear them. But consider how you can nurture them, encourage them, and how you can shape the world they will take over from you. Why? So that when they do, they will be grateful to you. That’s dangerous thinking for grown-ups who like to clutch church like angry toddlers, rather than letting the real toddlers in.
I have come to replace you. Yes, and you are most welcome.