Rewired. (Not retired!)

I credit Dr. Fauci for introducing me to the concept of rewiring. As in, I’m not retiring, I’m rewiring.

I realize this opens me up to an ongoing circuit of revolting puns that are positively shocking (for the rookie punsters out there, that was a four-pun phrase which puts me in the masters league), but wordplay aside, it’s accurate.

At the end of this month, I will step down from my role as Resource Presbyter for Cayuga-Syracuse and will go on to do…

Well, quite honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m not quite ready to step away from working at least part-time, but I don’t know what that work will look like. I plan on taking several months to discern where God is calling me next. I’m not retiring. I’m rewiring.

I suppose this language shouldn’t seem foreign to Presbyterians. When a congregation Calls a pastor, that individual is “installed” in that position. If we can install pastors, why can’t we be rewired as well? I’m not suggesting a need to put in a dimmer switch (hush!) but to consider what new connections might be made that will be illuminating not just to the individual, but to the larger community as well.

The last congregation I served as pastor has bragging rights as being the first church in the world to be lit by electricity.* The manse was an old Victorian (11 bedrooms!) that had years of deferred maintenance. Some of that deferred maintenance decided to show itself in the form of sparking wires in the basement – old cloth-covered wires that didn’t quite date back to Edison but were close, and some of the original wiring was in place (but not being used). Listening to the emergency crew that was sent in talk about what they were seeing was amusing. Amidst the expletives were words of awe. They were seeing and repairing wires that represented the history of their own work. They were seeing Edison’s legacy first-hand.

No one would suggest we simply continue using the old wiring. That doesn’t diminish how well it worked at one point, or the many lives it brought light and comfort to. Rewiring is an act that honors the legacy while leaning into what comes next… or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

It does beg the question, however, what else needs to be rewired. And yes, I’m looking at you church. The world needs to hear the transformative gospel of Jesus Christ. How are you wired to do that work?

* First Presbyterian Church of Roselle, NJ – home of Edison’s “electrolier”. The manse (known as the Mulford Mansion) was part of Edison’s first electrified town.

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