19 October, 1999

Making Change

Lately, it may seem that “normal” is only a setting on your washing machine. There’s been change in the air, and some are still asking, “What’s happened?” “How come?” or, “What’s next?”

Change is a part of life. Something that is no longer changing is either dead or never had life. The seed changes into a germinated sprout, a seedling, a sapling, and then a fruit bearing tree. If it stops changing, it will die. Everyday our bodies change as cells die and are replaced by new ones. Not even the sky stays the same – if it did we would have no seasons. Change is the only constant in life. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change hurts. And when change hurts, we have to make an intentional decision to grow amidst the change.

Change has already happened, and will continue to happen at Bethany Church. So it’s the job of an “Interim Pastor” to help everyone deal with the changes positively and to help each person and the whole congregation make it work toward growth. I want to make these changes like money in your pockets – a useful tool to help this congregation grow. This is my long-term goal for my time amongst you.

But first we must deal with the hurt – because pain is not “small change”. Ignoring it can be very expensive. We need to voice the pain, and we need to listen to one another. We need to talk honestly and openly together. Communication is the key to making change work for us and not against us.

I plan to actively listen to each of you as I visit you in your homes and as I gather with you in meetings and classes. I will ask each of you to share your reflections of what’s gone on and what Bethany’s future holds. I will encourage each of you to not bury the dirt, but to air it and let it be fertile soil for new seeds to grow.

One of my favorite hymns is In the Bulb there is a Flower. It was written in 1986 by Natalie Sleeth as her husband was dying. The second stanza says:
There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody.
There’s a dawn for every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future, what it holds a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
© 1986 by the Hope Publishing Company
Natalie Sleeth held fast to the faith that even amidst the pain of the change in her life, God was present and along side of her in her pain as well as in her joy. She held fast to the hope that change could bring the hope and dawn of a future that would unfold before her.

Let’s choose to make change together.