Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Journey

By Rev. Mike Bealla, Director of Connectional Ministries

Change is all around us! We often use the term “transition” to express change. Perhaps transition implies a kind of continuation with a temporary adjustment which feels a bit more secure. But the bottom line is we are living in a time of not just change, but exponential change. Every aspect of our lives seems to be radically impacted by the frequency and the amount of change.

I led a learning time at this year’s E-Tour on the theme of “What’s Happened to my Church?” We shared great conversations as we talked about how change has impacted the church. What I felt from participants as I led the groups was a sense of uneasiness that ran the gamut from mild frustration to moderate fear. Everyone wants change, but it seems that no one wants to change. The truth is we are resistant to change because we are afraid of what we will lose when change occurs.

Change can rattle our being. Regardless of your political view, you must admit we are experiencing one of the most unsettling primary seasons ever (at least in our lifetime). The fear of the changing world around us has led us — beyond having and creatively expressing opposite points of view — to name calling and disrespectful practices.

If we are not personally careful, we can find ourselves getting caught up in all kinds of things that can separate us from living into the presence of Christ. We can easily play out our frustrations by pointing the finger at others for the world’s problems, judging our brothers and sisters as to which are good and which are bad, and using our faith positions to divide us from each other.

Our concern for the future of our denomination may be pulling us apart by opposite viewpoints and theological differences, and is a reflection of a greater fear that God has left the building! Despite human attempts to divide ourselves in God’s name, God has always triumphed. Easter makes that so very clear!

The change we face today is actually a sharing with God in the creation of tomorrow! Change is God’s way of taking what is (or isn’t) and reshaping into what God intends it to become. That includes us. As painful as transition can be for us, we also know it is necessary if we are to become what God intends us to be! We are invited into this relationship with God to be co-creators of tomorrow. What an awesome gift and awesome responsibility!

I guess I am rambling on simply to say whether we face change in our own lives, in our families, or communities of God’s own church, we are not alone. We need not truly fear change. God meets us in the midst of creation and walks with us into the future. For us it is a matter of remaining true and faithful to God no matter how unsettling life becomes. God will never let us go!

In this meantime between God’s Kingdom and our daily lives, remember God’s ultimate promise! It is real! Stand firm in your trust of God no matter how unsettling life becomes.

God has invited us on this journey of life… we can either embrace God’s change or stay behind and miss out on God’s plan for tomorrow.

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