Like so much of this world, our faith family is going through a period of transition. It’s a tough thing to do. Very few people are happy to welcome change into their lives. It is a peculiar bit of psychology though, considering that the only constant in life is change. Nothing remains the same.
Why is it that the same people who have celebrated some transitions in their life find it so difficult, yes even repulsive, to accept some change in their church? Yes, we look back with nostalgia on the good ole days when our mothers patiently fed each article of the wash into the wringer …but no woman I know would willingly trade in her automatic for a good ole wringer washer and the rinse tub!!
I remember the cold nights when my Dad would join some other Dads at the town ice rink. There they would get out the hose and flood the grounds over and over until they had built an ice surfice for the kids to play hockey. Dad would come home chilled to the bone with his hands raw. My sons-in-law wouldn’t think of trading in their ice makers and zambonis for the good ole days!
Yes, it is peculiar how we resist certain changes. In St. Pauls we have developed a 5 year plan to ‘re-invent St. Pauls’ calls for revitalization. We want to be revelent to people in the present day. Our church family embraced this call to evolve. Now we struggle to walk the bumpy path of exploration that this call includes.
I suppose it would be easier if there was an instruction book somewhere that would tell us how to move into the 21st century and cope with all that means. It would be so much more acceptable if there were some one, somewhere, who had travelled a difficult path of change…. someone to follow, who could calm our fears with solid guidance and direction. Someone who could give us hope when we get scared and love us through it all.
Wait! There is someone!
That someone is Jesus.
Wow! He not only lived in times of change, he WAS change personified. The priests and worshipers of that day were shocked by Jesus and his radical ministry. The norm at the time was a leadership of Priests, aloof and untouchable. Jesus led people by mingling and touching them where they were. His ministry was meaningful because he made it relevant to the ordinary person. He touched the untouchable, spoke to lowly women and children and healed the marginalized. Jesus shocked the priests and anyone who knew the old traditions. He changed the Holy rules. Those divisive laws that were once the accepted norm were exchanged for loving and accepting examples of God’s love on earth.
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” ….Oliver Wendell Holme
We stand in a shaky, evolving world… but we need not fear for our direction is the great thing…as long as we continue to be directed by our Lord and Savior.
We do have someone to lead us through these changing times. May we have the courage to hang onto our gracious Savior as we struggle to find ourselves in this post modern world.
Thanks be to our God.