What would it look like to ‘rewild’ the Church?
By Jenny Wilson, PA to the General Director
I have been enjoying watch the Sir David Attenborough series The Green Planet recently and one particular episode gave me real pause for thought. Sir David told the story of one former farming area in Brazil where people, after years of neglecting the rainforest, were looking to ‘rewild’ the forest which had become desolate, dry and discouragingly empty of life.
A programme was launched to start to plant indigenous rainforest tree species to the area and within 10 years the rainforest was again starting to flourish. Dry streams started to flow with water again, other plant species returned to the forest and all kinds of wildlife, animals and birds start to inhabit the rainforest again. The animals came back on their own – there was no ‘re-introduction’ programme to get the variety of animals back, they came back on their own, drawn to the natural habitat. Local conservationists were astonished to discover that the Maned Wolf had started to make the rainforest it’s home as the Wolf Fruit Tree, whose yummy delights the Maned Wolf is particularly partial to, was now established in the forest. Sir David concluded that ‘it shows what can happen when we make space for wild plants.’
So, what has this got to do with the Church?
I can’t help thinking of Acts 2:4 when the Holy Spirit came upon them ‘And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ The passage then goes on to say that the work of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles enabled people to hear about the good news of Jesus in their own language.
In their own language! Perhaps ‘rewilding’ the Church looks like planting Kingdom seeds across Scotland to enable natural habitats for different groups of people and not necessarily trying to coax people into what might be an alien habitat for them. Creating a habitat and speaking languages that people will get, and in so doing introduce them to Jesus!
What if rewilding the Church looks like the people of God taking the Spirit of God to football pitches, pubs and shopping malls? What if I took a step and joined my local running club and took the light of Jesus into a different habitat?
What are our wolf fruits? Where can we make space for the ‘wild’ in our churches communities and individual lives so that, as with the Maned Wolf and their delicious wolf fruits, people can find a habitat where they can ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Psalm 34:8).
Some ‘wild’ food for thought!