I listened to an interview with author and professor, George Saunders. In the interview he shared about the time he went incognito in a homeless shelter in Fresno, California. There he met a wise older man from Guatemala who kept saying “Everything is always keep changing.” Professor Saunders says that truer words were never spoken. “It is only when we expect solidity, or non-change, that we get taken by surprise and we always expect solidity, no matter how well we know better.”
As I look back over the last church year (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020) I realize that “everything is always keep changing.” The first three quarters of the year we were gearing up for our church’s Centennial; we had launched the largest pastor’s class in more than a decade; we had hired our new amazing Director of Music, Matt Thompson; we were lighting the church up with red gels to celebrate the Chiefs. And all of the sudden covid hit and I looked at months’ worth of sermon plans I had prayerfully studied and outlined and realized they seemed irrelevant. If you had told me on March 1 that we would still be zooming meetings and streaming worship six months later I would have looked at you as though you just told me that aliens were invading from outer space!
Schools, restaurants, jobs, travel plans, family reunions, health care, relationships…everything is always keep changing! Though we try to be resilient and hopeful, sometimes the changes feel too frightening and unsettling. I have realized in recent weeks that most of scripture was written in times of immense change. Psalm 139 says “Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (hell), You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.”
What is true in the midst of all this change is that God keeps showing up right where we are, keeps embracing us with love. There is no change that takes God by surprise. For God’s love and grace was designed to carry us through enormous change. As a part of that interview with Saunders, he says that the key to making good use of the unexpected season of change is to keep your heart open.
My prayer for you and for all of us together, is that we will keep our hearts open to the ways God will love and shape us as God’s very own beloved family.
Grace and peace,