Here we are at the month of May already. As I am writing this it is pouring rain outside. Oh wait, now it’s not…..ok, it started again…oh and I just stepped out and it is sleeting. Feels like November. Just when we thought Spring had arrived with a couple of 70 degree days, it snowed. Then it warmed up again, then the wind nearly blew us off our feet, then the temperature plummeted again. It just seems to change hourly. Frustrating, but really….it shouldn’t be a surprise. Everything in life is in flux and constantly changing. Some of us adapt to change fairly well and some of us don’t, but in the end we all have to deal with change. This is especially true today as the pandemic has changed everything, some for the good and some not so good but change is here to stay. As a church we also must consider our change power. The first step for navigating change is realizing that change is inevitable. Change is constant. Change is not a one-time event. The weather will change again and again, and so will we as individuals and as a church. The changes we face as a church will be ongoing; and now more than ever, churches as well as we as individuals need to understand and strengthen our capacity for change.
We have been challenged to change our mindset, or paradigm, about many aspects of life. In scripture we often read of a call for changing hearts and lives. Passages that refer to John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles in the book of Acts, often includes the word repent. We often think this word conveys a one-time, and mostly emotional action; however, it really calls for a complete change of life. The Greek word is metanoia, which literally means, “change directions, turn around.” There isn’t an English word that conveys this meaning well, and some translators have chosen to use for this one word, a phrase: “change your hearts and lives.” The phrase is inclusive of both a new inner state of being and an outward manner of living. So, to repent is a big deal. It is foundational to what the New Testament teaches. The message was not just to repent of one behavior, or a few specific actions, but to take on a new life. A life that is grounded in the love of God and seeks to live as Christ has called us in this day and time. We have had to adjust to using new technologies in worship, we re-assessed how we use space in the church when we renovated, and now as we have opportunity to complete improvements we hoped for in 2014, we have ‘changed direction’ from the ‘way we have always done things’ to who we are as a church in 2021 and who we will become.
Change isn’t always easy, to change direction isn’t always easy, not just for the church but also for each of us in our individual lives. However, we don’t need to just grit our teeth and plow through what comes, we are able to draw on our faith and faith practices to move ahead.
I ran across this acronym, ‘PRESS,’ that describes how to press forward in our own lives and as a church as we experience changes in our community and world.
Positive: Be positive and practice joy. Be mindful of what you are feeling about things that are changing in your life.
Relationships: Cultivate relationships with friends of all ages. Nurture your relationship with your family.
Engaged: Stay engaged in faith, rekindle or learn new faith practices. Do not underestimate time with the Lord, be quiet to allow God to speak, and spend time in prayer.
Seek: Seek opportunities that come with change. What opportunity has arisen amid some change in your life that may have been a hidden blessing to you or someone else?
Serving: We find meaning and purpose through belonging and serving something higher than oneself.
PRESS helps boost our capacity for change and reminds us that in Christ, together we are strengthened to navigate a world that seems to change as quickly as the weather.
Together we are better, we are a Christ community that seeks to nurture and support one another, that stands with one another and who will carry one another when the road is too overwhelming. We are blessed. This is how we will PRESS forward as God’s people!
Blessings to you and yours! Brenda