When a loss is a gain

Observant residents of Te Awamutu would have noticed recent demolition work on the corner of Racecourse and Ōhaupō Roads. The church building that has stood on that corner since 1988 is gone.

Naysayers and gossips are lamenting loudly, spreading mistruth, and sharing “how sad” this loss is. While their method is immature, their sentiment is correct – this is sad. We are grieving the loss of the spiritual home of our ancestors. But people who live in the past become bumps in the road, not treasure in a legacy.

Phil Strong

Loss brings sadness and grief, which are normal emotions that can be healthy. How we choose to deal with our grief is what determines our way forward.

Jesus taught us about life and death. He said to His followers, “I tell you the truth, a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die to make many seeds. But if it never dies, it remains only a single seed.”

The property on Racecourse Road has been surrendered to a new purpose, and this will require the death of the old, as Jesus puts it, for the new life of hope to come for the next generation.  Many families and multiple generations will benefit from the future housing development on this property.

Using another example from agriculture, I might supplement my argument another way; though you can easily count the seeds in an apple, it’s impossible to count the apples in a seed.

What’s the point? Unless the seed is planted in the ground, whether it be wheat or apple, there is no new life, growth, and harvest that blesses many more. Sometimes we need to allow the past to die, grieve our loss, and move on.

When my mum died I was just a young man. I had a choice; I could get angry and bitter at such a significant loss, or I could embrace my pain and grow in the journey. I realised that my deepest pain was revealing my need for love, and I chose to find that love in my family of faith. Perhaps our reaction to loss is revealing something deeper we need to address.

In our loss, my dad and siblings all grieved differently, and that is okay. We did it together, loving each other with grace and understanding. That’s how you stay healthy and connected.

To the naysayers and gossips who might assume that I am not grieving the loss of the church building, I say “piffle.” King Solomon, the wisest man who lived on earth, wrote “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.” There’s always talk. You would be wise to choose who you listen to.

Let us embrace the good that comes out of letting go of the old. Let us look for new life that can come from death, as the life of Jesus teaches us. Sometimes, death is necessary. Sacrifice must always be prioritised over the comfort of our past. Let us choose the better option.

See: Zion housing plan advances

An artist’s impression of what Zion Church and Habit for Humanity’s completed joint Zion Church’s former Racecourse Rd building is currently fenced off. Photo: Jeremy Smith housing project could look like. Image supplied

 

 

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