For June’s article of Musings, I want to talk about change but from a theological viewpoint. Due to the recent COVID, and now as you will seek an interim pastor, St. Luke’s is experiencing change.
Change is inevitable. Biblically and theologically speaking, change is essential and part of God’s creation. Creation involved change – from nothing, from the formless void, to a beautiful creation. Unlike many world views in which time is cyclical, inescapable, or meaningless, Biblical time is purposeful, forward moving, and climaxing in the fulfillment of God’s promises and plan.
However not all things change. First, God does not change. God is relationally dynamic; that is to say, God is personal and lovingly and graciously interacts with all of creation. God does not change in nature, character, or attributes.
Human condition has not changed. From the fall of Adam and Eve, all humans who have every lived (save for Jesus) have been sinners by nature and by choice. No matter how good or how bad any individual person’s actions may be, all have fallen short of what God expects and demands.
Change, even chaotic change, can be good. Studies in chaos and complexity theory have shown that equilibrium leads to stagnation which leads to death. Change, and even moving to the edge of chaos, is what causes living systems to adapt, find new solutions, and improve. The disturbances caused by change and chaos can be, in fact, life savers. Remember how God brought radical change to Israel, often through her worst enemies.
The key, therefore, is how we evaluate change. Should we embrace it or resist it?
What is actually changing? As America changes rapidly, the church must clearly identify the changes worth confronting. How often are we expending energy simply resisting change that affects our sentimentality about life and culture and our preferences about the church?
How can and will God use change for His glory? As hard as it is, we need to work to see the biggest picture possible – God’s. What is He doing through these changes? What does He want to do in my individual life, in my church, and through believers in America and around the world? How are these changes moving us toward the fulfillment of His promises?
Change is rarely comfortable. I am convinced that more often than not God is waiting for us to seize the moment, “making the most of the time” (Col. 4:5b), internally and externally to our society.