Changes Are Coming….
“If you are in the midst of change and it’s hard, that doesn’t mean the change is bad. Change is usually hard. But it’s in the hard where God shows up.” – Sherry Surratt (http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2016/february/how-to-cope-with-change.html?start=2)
Try using the word “change” in a church and it’s like you’ve said a curse upon all that is. Over my 16 years in ministry, I’ve worked really hard to try to understand why. Everything changes. We have changes in the weather daily. Look in a mirror and you’ll see changes in your skin, hair, and even waistline! If we are honest, we cannot deny that change is an inevitable part of life.
Then why are we so resistant to it? My guess is that we’d rather be comfortable and change usually involves uncomfortableness.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen sweeping changes in technology, in medical and scientific discoveries, and more. And yet some things, sadly, don’t seem to change. Things like race relations, the push to engage in war, hate speech, divisions, lack of respect, shoot first and ask questions later. But the hope that I have is grounded in the fact that all things do change! Sometimes however, the changes seem to get worse before they get better.
Part of that problem, as I see it, is that we succumb to the negative forces much faster than we do positive forces. Plus, we tend to begin to believe that changing things is someone else’s problem to handle; that we have no say in these matters. What would happen if our community engaged in the difficult work toward making positive and life affirming changes in our town? In our faith communities? In our families? In our individual lives? What would happen if faithful people from all backgrounds came together and fostered conversations? What would happen if we claimed our voices to speak for those who can’t, to stand with those who have no one, or to tackle injustices together?
Newberg is a great town and I believe that this is a great place to start. I was approached the other day by someone from the Newberg Rotary about being a part of a “Random Acts of Kindness Day” that would get the whole town involved in kindness toward strangers! It’s these simple things that make a big difference – a difference in embracing our ever-changing landscape in a positive and productive way.
Attend peace and prayer vigils, but don’t stop there. Talk to your neighbors. Develop relationships with them. And claim your “superpower” for good so that humanity’s changes will lead to respect and love for all people.
Rev. Dr. Cathy Davis is the pastor at First United Methodist in Newberg, Oregon.