Trusting God through Change by Rev. Lamar Imes
Change! It is a concept and a phenomenon that causes all kinds of emotional reactions within us. And it is something that profoundly affects our churches - how we worship, and how we feel about this essential expression of our spirits to God.
A community in which I served as a pastor had a property on the main street purchased by a large city bank from another area. On that empty lot was erected a beautiful artist's color conception of the new branch bank that was to be built on that very site. The sign at the bottom named our community and then continued, "...will never be the same."
You can only imagine the outrage of the people of the community who loudly declared that they didn't want our town changed. "We like it the way it is!" "We don't want our wonderful town to be influenced and changed to become like the city where the main bank is located!" "Who do they think they are to come in here and declare that because of them our town will never be the same?!" On and on went the objections. It became a time of reflection and learning in which we began to deal with the fact that the only thing that is consistent other than the Triune God, is change.
There may be chapters in our lives where we would like to freeze time, and allow things to forever be the way they are then. There was a chapter in my life when Joan and I were married, our two children were born and at home, our parents were living, and some of our grandparents were still with us. Those were great times! It could well have been a moment that we would have liked to remain unchanged. But, as we know, time marches on and people and things are always in a state of flux and change. Throughout those changes God has continued to bless us richly.
Some things in life we would never change if we could control them. Other things in our lives we wish desperately to change. When a new year begins we often think of the possibilities of new beginnings in our lives and even "resolve" to be different; to change things in our world over which we have some control.
In this coming year, there will be changes! Some will be those for which we had wished, hoped and prayed. Others may be things that we would never have chosen. Nonetheless, changes will take place in our lives. Some of those changes will be manifest in our churches. Even a congregation that maintains a particular style of worship and music continues to change Ð not least among the faces and makeup of their congregation Ð perhaps even their pastoral leadership. Other churches will embrace change in styles and approaches to worship itself. Yet other new congregations will come into existence, and not be constrained by a prior history or experience. As we strive to discern how best to serve Christ's Body, we continually must pray that whatever we do, God will be moving in it.
The wonderful good news for those who are in Christ Jesus is found in the passage that St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28.
May this wonderful truth live in us in the coming year and forever, as we trust God who loves us divinely!
Rev. Lamar Imes has served faithfully as a United Methodist pastor, and is currently District Superintendent, Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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