11 December 2019
Change never sleeps
Waits for its day, but will not be delayed
It can be ignored but will never move away
Cosmetics hide its patience
But cannot silence its voice
An unending rhyme of endings and beginnings
To be embraced as a friend
To be feared as the terror of the night
Change never sleeps. [from Auckland Presbytery paper on change in the church]
Change is necessary if growth is to happen, but we still seem to cling to the idea that it is preferable to stop the world and have things stay the same. When we feel vulnerable, the thought of change scares us, we get anxious and the "what ifs" start pouring out. We can be paralysed by fear of what might happen and forget to live in the moment we have and to act as people who have a future. Sometimes we make foolish decisions which are based on fearful imaginations and our perceptions of other people and the world get twisted when the "what ifs" take over.
Jesus says to his disciples as they worried about what was happening. [Little did they know what was to come at the time!] "Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If you then are not able to do so small a thing as that, then why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these."
Change creeps up on us. It doesn't mean that the old things were not good when we move to embrace the new, just that the times have changed. There are new challenges to meet, and new adventures to have.
The other day I asked a group, where I was taking devotions, to find a symbol of change in how we give the gospel message.in a new time .. One elderly woman picked up her cell phone [yes I know it might fry your brain but they do work] and said "not long ago we all had phones fixed in our houses. We could talk but we had to be in that place. Now I have a phone I can walk outside with, it is still a phone, it still has the same messages given on it but with it I am free to be in the garden, to travel and still be connected."
The old phone works, but the new phone allows freedom of movement. In the same way we still have the same good news of Jesus to give as before, but when we let go of the old customs that held us, we are free to tell the story in different cultures, new places.. The same news but now we are free to hear and speak it in new places.
Change is part of growth, and we are told to trust God and live in that trust. "My times are in your hands", sings the psalmist, in times of deep despair, facing huge uncertainties.
Let us be able to open our hands and hearts and let go of what is no longer the best tool for the new journey in our won lives and that of the church and allow God's spirit to flow and refresh us with new life and love. May each of us be able to recognise what to leave behind and what to pack for the journey.
I guess if we are going to travel light, it is the faithful, hoping, love of the spirit of Christ that travels with us and is lasting. We can share it and it multiplies, and changes the world. Maybe when we follow Jesus we are being asked to be agents of change in this world and we ourselves will be changed.
May God be with us in the hard places and the joyful times as we journey this month
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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