Change

“Day and Night” by M.C. Escher, 1937; from the book Change by Paul Watzlawick & John Weakland, W.W. Norton, 1974.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Romans 12:1-2 RSV

Dear Friends,

“Change” is the name of a book I read nearly 40 years ago. l still have it on my shelf. Although I have not read it through again for many years, it continues to remind me about an important lesson: things often change from year to year regardless of how I might want them to stay the same.

It seems that when my life situation begins to settle down, another change is just waiting around the corner. I think we all know it to be true - whether it’s a change in jobs, or homes, or health. Sometimes it’s a graduation. Sometimes it’s the death of a friend. Sometimes it’s the economy. The devil of it is, it seems, that the older we get the more often change lies in waiting for us and pounces upon us when we do not expect it.

The book, however, does not complain about being caught unawares, but tells in detail how change opens new possibilities that we would otherwise never consider. In fact, the authors talk about how our human nature resists change even when it might be good for us. They discuss the old saying, “the more something changes the more it remains the same.” They make the point that some things in our lives really need to be changed and that our human nature wants to keep on trekking in bad habits, untidy surroundings, and deep ruts.

Real change is a two-part deal. First, it’s a matter of our perception: every disappointment presents new possibilities as in the picture above - we can see a flock of black geese flying over our sunny day or we can see a flock of white geese flying over our dark night. We choose which we want to see and we can decide what is more useful. Second, change is a matter of breaking some routines while holding on to others. The wisdom is in knowing which to break and which to keep.

When I look ahead to the coming summer months, I remember this book I read nearly 40 years ago and I think about the Bible. It tells us again and again that God has many things in store for us as we continue along our life’s journey, whether it is in Litchfield or Akron or anywhere else God may lead us.

Most changes are temporary, here today and gone tomorrow; but God’s love is eternal and true friends will always be true friends.

Your brother in Christ,

‒ Pastor Jim