"Changes, they are a-coming!"
Yes, no matter what we do, and no matter how hard we try to maintain the status quo, change comes.
It was only yesterday that I was blessed to bathe my newborn son at Athens Regional Hospital. It was only a few hours ago that I was at my "fighting" weight. It was a minute ago that our home was full of children, screaming and running around to raid the refrigerator.
Change is what happened, and, as difficult as it is, we are called to rejoice and praise the Lord of our life. I do rejoice, and I praise the Lord, because my memories are rich and full. The man that my son has become today is so very important to the hundreds of students he teaches and leads. I do rejoice and praise the Lord, because I am taking better care of my physical body than ever before. I do rejoice and praise the Lord, because while those children are no longer around, I can still hear and help those who remain, in the streets and alleys near our home and beyond.
Change comes to the local church. It was only yesterday that the Mid-Town churches were drawing hundreds every Sunday into their beautiful sanctuaries. It was only a few hours ago our rural churches in Gwinnett County were having week-long revivals, drawing in those from the fields to meet Christ. It was a minute ago that our churches were the center of life and the center of learning for the communities. What happened?
Change is what happened, and, as difficult as it is, we are called to rejoice and praise the Lord, our Creator and Bride. We can rejoice for the lives changed who are now changing the world for the Kingdom of God. We can rejoice and praise the Lord, because our congregations are meeting new and more challenging needs today for a challenged and needy people. We can praise the Lord, because His Church, our communities of faith, can dream and create new ministries for the needs of today.
Change is coming to the United Methodist Church. We will not know what it will be, but we feel the winds blowing. We know that we cannot be the same yesterday, today, and forever; we are called to adapt and to become the source of love and salvation for our world. I pray that we will be in prayer, starting now, for our General Conference and our SEJ Conference. I pray we will not allow negativity or a desire for the "good old days" to hold us back from what God is doing in and through us as God's people.
You want something to remain stable, to remain the same? Well, celebrate, because that constant is Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever! But not His Church, it must become what the Spirit of God desires for this time and for this world. His Church must continue to transform lives for the sake of Jesus Christ by introducing an ever-changing world to the never-changing grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Need a sermon? There you go. Preach change and preach changing as grace flows over the creation of God.
Yes, I'm still changing, but thank God that I'm not the same. God continues to shape me to what God needs for here and now.
I like what each of you has become... rejoice and praise the Lord, too!