Voice of the Vestry: CHANGE

by Eddie Grim

We humans have a complex and varied relationship with change. It is a profound love and hate relationship. We celebrate the coming of spring while we grumble and complain about the accompanying rain. We smile in pride as our children grow to adulthood, but at the same time fear each new step of independence. Some changes we like and some we fear. Some changes we want and some changes we resist at all cost. Change can comfort us but too much change can bring fear and anger like a sudden storm.

Change in the church can be the most threatening change of all. In a world of extreme change we often hold to the church as an anchor that doesn’t change. The problem is that everything that lives is subject to change and growth. The absence of change in the natural world is an indication of death. Growth and change in the church can be scary or exciting, welcomed or resisted. The church is a living growing body. If a church is to live it must change. It must mature and adapt to new situations and the myriad changes in the world around it.

The important question is in a sea of constant change is there a true anchor, a constant to guide our course. In the book of James we find the one anchor, the true North Star of the church. That which we can depend on in both our individual lives and our lives together. James says, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

The character and nature of God is the one constant that does not change. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. As the well loved hymn says “Time is filled with swift transition, Naught of earth unmoved can stand, Build your hopes on things eternal, Hold to God’s unchanging hand.” (by Jennie Wilson)

We are living through a time of transition and change at Grace. Some changes are easy while some changes are difficult. We as leaders in the church struggle with change as much as anyone else. We spend hours in reflection and prayer seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit at every step. Our only goal is to foster the growth and health of this congregation which we love. We hold to God’s unchanging love, and trust His guidance. Many things change, but our unchanging God is our anchor in the midst of change! Both in our lives together, and in our individual lives, let us hold to the unchanging hand of our God who “does not change like shifting shadows.”