By the time you read this Ash Wednesday will be behind us and our 2020 Lenten journey will have begun. This year the worship team chose the theme of “Making Change.” I’m sure every one of you has heard the old adage that the only thing constant in life is change. And it’s true. Change is indeed a constant in our lives. Some changes mark gradual transitions, as when daytime shifts toward twilight or winter turns to spring. Others happen in the blink of an eye, separating time into “before” and “after”. We choose to undergo some changes after carefully considering our options, while others are forced upon us.
In the weeks, days, and hours before Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples also experienced change: a change of venue as the gates of Jerusalem approached; a change of plans as their long-awaited Messiah was arrested and tried; a change of circumstance as the crowds shouted “Crucify!” These changes had to be terrifying for them.
Change is hard. We long for the expected and familiar, but like the disciples we find ourselves in the midst of uncertainty and the unknown. We cannot predict how things will turn out. Knowing changes will be made has often brought me hope during challenging or unexpected life events. It has also brought fear and trepidation in situations where the last thing I wanted was change. But I’ve come to realize it’s not the circumstances or the changes that dictate how my life will go, but rather how I handle those changes and disruptions.
Whether I choose to “go it alone” or recognize God’s hand in what’s happening makes all the difference. If I take the time to see clearly what is happening, I’ll realize that the change may have actually been brought about by God. Most certainly God will be there to help me get through it if I just let him in. And God will always be there to help me cope with unexpected and/or unwanted change if I but call on him.
During our 6:30 p.m. Wednesday Evening Lenten services this year we are going to hear from five individuals about how change has impacted their lives and how they managed to deal with that change. I hope you will come and support your fellow church family members as they share their “change” stories.
Mar. 4: Change of Habit – Bonnie Scranton
Bad habits are hard to break. The letter to the Galatians urges us to replace them with the fruits of the Spirit. Love, patience, generosity, and self-control are just some of the good habits practiced by those whose foundation is built on Christ.
Mar. 11: Change of Season – Bonnie Conover
“For everything there is a season.” We hear those familiar words telling us that life is full of changes. Jesus’ parables are also filled with images of life transformed. Just as the mustard seed grows into a tree or yeast turns flour into bread, we too are called to be agents of change in the kingdom of God. Christ did not come to earth to maintain the status quo, but rather to usher in a change of season.
Mar. 18: Change of Circumstances – Dick Klusmeyer
We move from elementary to middle school, or from our hometown to a new community. We lose a job, or gain a child, or accomplish a goal, or relinquish a dream. Through it all, we learn to give thanks to God in all circumstances.
Mar. 25: Change of Plans – Matt Futhey
God’s ways are not our own. We expect a conquering king and hero, but Jesus instead leads us down the road to Jerusalem and humbles himself on the cross. God changes our plans and replaces them with a love broader and deeper than anything we could imagine.
April 1: Change of Heart – Sue Hobbins
Jesus’ words to the Pharisees give us pause: “You honor me with your lips, but your hearts are far from me.” Jesus invites us to experience a change of heart that will in fact change every part of our lives.