She was between 20 and 30 years old and she died in approximately 1 BCE. For many years archaeologists not only assumed she was male; they thought she was a male priest considering the markings on her sarcophagus. She was between five and six months pregnant and her burial accessories included “a rich set of amulets.” And although she was Egyptian, she now resides in Poland. You can read about her here.
Turns out she was placed in a sarcophagus which was not her own. This happens 10% of the time says Archaeologist Wojciech Ejsmond. Interesting. (But that’s for another post.)
We in the Institutional Church ofter refer to the Church being dead or dormant somewhat like a mummy.
- We are God’s Frozen People.
- Carey Niewhof has identified “7 Subtle Signs” of impending church death here.
- Revelation 3:1-6 (The truth about dying churches goes way back.)
And during this Eastertide, we might remember that Jesus himself was embalmed by those who loved him. But he was apparently never a mummy because . . . Resurrection. (Again, the conversation about bodily resurrection is for another post.)
So, here’s my point:
Some of our congregations are in the process of preparing for death because of what Carey Niewholf talks about:
- No passion from leaders.
- No innovation.
- Management over leadership.
- Maintenance over mission.
- Fixation on being “my church.”
- No permission-giving to young leaders.
- Weak relationship with God.
Some congregations have unwittingly embalmed themselves with relics and they don’t even know it. I know congregations with more money in their cemetery fund than their mission fund.
Some congregations have died even though there was new life there than never had a chance. Cue the wise and wonderful MaryAnn McKibben Dana : “The Church is not dying. It’s pregnant.”
The kindom of heaven shall be like a fertile royal who gives birth again and again to a new generation of the faithful. Truly I tell you, even the embalmed will reveal new life.