Monday, January 12, 2015

Journeying with Jesus into the Unknown

When in and all around us things are changing it can be pretty disruptive. It’s a little like what happens when we receive 6 inches of rain in a couple hours and the creeks and rivers overflow threatening to flood our basements and our homes. We become anxious and scared and worry about what we’re going to do and how we’re going to survive.
What’s our typical reaction to change? How do we react when change comes that we’ve not really prepared ourselves for? Do we welcome it? Do we just ride out the change trusting in whatever God brings our way?
Have you noticed stones and rocks in a stream? Have you noticed how all the edges are round and smooth? Have you noticed how the bigger stones just sit there on the bottom, not moving, as the water flows over them?
Perhaps we can take a lesson from the stones and the rocks in those streams and let the sharp edges of our lives be worn away. Perhaps we should let God’s Spirit help us find the reason for living in these challenges that come to us. Perhaps we should be like a river that is continually changing its direction as it flows toward the ocean.
In this new year, this new season, this new journey we should ask ourselves, “How do I live?” Do I live as a person who has been set free or do I live as one chained to all the things life puts on my shoulders? That’s a heavy question and not easily answered.
I’ve been thinking about all this as I’m fast approaching my last Sunday as a pastor. There are people and things that have given my life a purpose. It’s hard to let them all go because they’ve provided a sense of security.
And now I wonder how I’m going to live after…I’ve always lived my life knowing that it was my responsibility to love and care and protect my family. And as a follower of the Way of Jesus I’ve felt the call to share my gifts of time and talents.
But there have been times that the darkness has crept in and I have felt overwhelmed.  It’s then that I realize that I’ve given in to the demands of the world and I haven’t relied on God and his peace and his love.
This darkness hasn’t always been a bad thing when I stop and sit and think and let God show me there is nothing to fear since He’s never left my side. Sometimes the darkness is just the shadow cast by God’s light.
Sometimes the darkness is my own fear of being set free to become someone I’ve never been. Change makes us feel insecure, shaky, like the people in Texas probably felt this past week with the earthquakes. Change is kind of like looking in a mirror and not recognizing the person looking back at you.
Friends, we are all on a journey. Your journey and my journey are probably different but one thing is the same. We are both called to be changed into whomever and whatever God wills.
What an exciting time this next year is going to be for all of us. May God give us the strength, and the wisdom, to get acquainted with this new person, this stranger who will do and say and live in ways that we’ve never imagined. May we know that we all are being created in God’s image in ways that we’ve never realized before.
It’s a frightening thing, change, transformation, freedom. But what a gift. May God give all of us the opportunity to hold it tight, live in it fully, and enjoy it to the fullest, right now.
Thanks be to God for his unimagined grace. Amen.