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Everything old is new again.

Yesterday, I perused the artwork at the semiannual Crafty Supermarket event in Cincinnati.  This is not your grandmother’s craft show.  Prints of all sorts, edgy drawings, fabric art and a variety of photographs filled the halls of the show.  The pieces that greatly resonated with me were the antique and retro items turned into useful modern-day wearable crafts.

What happens when a number of pieces from your favorite childhood board game or collectors cards go missing?  The remaining pieces become the next generation of crafts.  Those items which seem like trash is no longer rubbish.  The broken typewriter key has been attached to a ring.  The spare lego is made into a tie clip.  A crystal from a chandelier is now hanging from a pendant.  A card from the Uno or Clue game is the new cover of a mini notebook.

Life isn’t over for the pop piece of yesteryear.  Whether New Kids on the Block or Alf filled your eighties dreams, those memories still linger in new form.  And as the memories remain, how can we see ourselves as old pieces being renewed and given resurrection?

  • This is rebirth

The refurbished item did not find its demise in the bottom of a recycle bin, on a mound at the dump or in a bin at the yard sale.  Even if the card or broken item found its way to the trash, someone had faith in this piece for something greater and yanked it out of the garbage.

Likewise, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes or a retro greeting card being pulled out of the recycle bin, we are invited to rebirth.  There is new life in us.  Even when we are “slightly used” or broken, God calls us out of brokenness into new life.

  • Finding new life means finding new abilities

The beautiful typewriter key that is now adhered to my ring filled its duty imprinting commas on sheets of paper.  During its time as a key, the comma dutifully brought sense to sentences and pause to thoughts. After the typewriter ceased to work and lost relevance in our culture, one person had faith that this key would add flavor to a piece of jewelry.

Losing a job or an ability doesn’t mean the end for us.  It often forces us in a new direction.  No longer are we significant to our society in a way that we are used to.  But we have other God-given gifts to contribute.  We have other ways God is calling us to use these gifts in our world.  We may no longer be as significant to one segment of our society, but we haven’t lost our splendor to our culture as a whole.

  • We can take what works from the past and make it part of the future

A typewriter has little function in our society nowadays.  So do cassette tapes.  But can we take what still works from these items and carry them along into our future.  The typewriter keys looks amazing in a ring setting or as part of a magnet.  I’ve thought about transforming cassette tape cases as credit card or business card holders.  We may not need them in their original function, but we can take a piece of the past with us into the future.

Memories are still part of who we are.  Often we keep to much of the past in our homes and in our churches.  Our lives become cluttered with things that no longer work in the present.  I wonder if we can use the lesson of the typewriter key ring in transforming our churches.  For instance, what if the pews were removed from the sanctuary but were given the opportunity to live as seating in the fellowship hall?  Or what if the pews could be repositioned in the sanctuary to add dimension to worship?  What if we sang the words of older hymns to new tunes or singing newer words to older tunes?

Yes, all of these “crafty” ideas include change.  However, the past is honored in a way in which the future can relate.  I may not need a typewriter or type fast while using one, but having the key on a piece of jewelry reminds me of yesterday’s writers.  Through the wearing of this key, I honor the fingers that typed many words and the passion of former essayists, playwrights and authors.

What broken item in your house can you modify into a stylish new accessory?  What is something older in your church that can be reformed and used to transform worship?