Someone saw Nasrudin searching for something on the ground.
‘What have you lost, Mulla?’ he asked. ‘My key,’ said the Mulla. So they both went down on their knees and looked for it.
After a time the other man asked: ‘Where exactly did you drop it?’
‘In my own house.’
‘Then why are you looking here?’
‘There is more light here than inside my own house.’
Shah, Idries (1985)
The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin
As we will have experienced over the last few weeks, sometimes circumstance forces us to try out new ideas where we have been comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, in the past. Jesus challenges us to “let down our nets on the other side”.
In his book “Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights”, Gary Klein, a research psychologist, recommends that we “foster serendipity – the random collision of ideas”.
What are the sources of light in our lives that might reveal new ideas?
- Prayer and space for reflection (individual and group)
- Engaging with the local community
- Through the eyes of our neighbour churches of different denominations
- Looking beyond our usual sources, perhaps to new podcasts and social media sites
- Networking with colleagues who are going through the same thing that we are
- Engaging our imaginations by using the tools that Jesus used to make others think – the parables. Can learn from this and engage with parables and metaphor?
- Thinking about where you have resources or groups which might be quickly redeployed to meet a new need.
Go For It has also produced a collection of 20 talks, each of five minutes, on projects it has funded. These “Lightning Talks” can be found by going to YouTube, searching for “Church of Scotland Community”, clicking on “Playlists” and then selecting “Go For It Lightning Talks”.
Don’t go looking for “one big idea” but try out a few ideas (planting some seeds). Look to see how people respond to them and then adjust as needed. Our minds learn more quickly from stories of failure than from success. If something doesn’t work then don’t take it further. You have learned something and, where you have trusted relationships, share that story to help others learn, too. There is no “best practice one size fits all” solution as each church is different.
I will leave you with one parable and some questions for when you pray.
Again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Luke 13: 20–21 (NRSV)
- What is your community hungering for? What is the bread that it needs?
- What is the old yeast that we can now sense we need to clean out?
- What can we contribute to leaven this new loaf?
- What is our place and that of our church in shaping a different future that may not have seemed possible before the pandemic?