A wise friend once asked me, “Matthew, you do know the definition of fear, don’t you?” Before I could reply, they blurted out, “CHANGE!” Change is always hard, but it’s especially hard when it feels like the whole world is changing at the same time.
As Presbyterians, change is not one of our main character traits. You may know the joke, “How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?” “Change?!”
Yet, change is at the heart of our faith traditions. We believe in a God who changes hearts, minds and lives! We follow a God who restores relationships and gets to the valley of the shadow of death before we do to catch us when we fall. As Christians, we worship and follow a God who is alive and on the loose in the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. Change is baked not only into the human experience but baked right into the very fabric of our faith. Perhaps that’s why throughout the scriptures, we are told 365 times, “Do not fear/be not afraid.” It’s almost as if we need this reminder every day of our lives.
Even though change is in the fabric of our faith, God doesn’t change! The God who led the Israelites out of slavery and into freedom is the same God who leads us in the midst of this COVID wilderness. The God who called forth a new vision through the Apostle Paul and the early church is the same God who has been moving through this community of faith to gather us in new forms. For God’s very heart wishes nothing short of transformation for each of us. How amazing it is to have a God like that!
It was recently reported that seven million Americans quit their jobs last month. Furthermore, it is estimated that a quarter of Americans will change careers in the next 12 months. What is clear is we are a people experiencing a massive shift.
If you feel unsettled, that seems about right, given all we have gone through as a people. It is only natural to feel fear and apprehension. But I want you to hear and know this good news: God is not distant even in the midst of those feelings. Throughout the pages of scripture, we come to know that God is best known and revealed in moments of great change! It’s the great paradox of faith. So, may we be a people who have eyes to see and hearts to feel how the living God is working through us in this time.
With great hope,
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