Change

Change

Friends, I invite you to share your comments on these Afterthoughts at the bottom of this web page. I would love hear what you think! brad+

I had the joy of being with my good friend and colleague,

the Reverend Matt Warren, for his installation at St. Stephen’s Orinda.

Matt has a history at St. Stephen’s.

His dad was the rector there from 1986-2002.

He grew up in the rectory that he is raising his children in.

He is a minister to some of the same people.

And even though it may seem like he is sliding back into a comfortable space,

this is a change for him.

Why?

Because is not the same as he was 22 years ago.

He is married now.

He has kids.

He has ministry experience that has changed him over the last 22 years.

Also, the people there are not the same.

Oh, yes, there are people that knew him when he was younger.

There are people that knew his parents.

There are people that watched him grow up.

But they are not the same either.

They have changed.

And there are new people there too.

People who had no relationship with his family.

It is like the beginning of the Book of Exodus,

“Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.”

In the story of the children of Israel, there are few heroes like Joseph.

He saved his family through adversity.

Made a name for himself in a foreign land.

Was given authority and responsibility.

But those days passed had him.

Which is why the book of Exodus starts out this way.

“Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.”

It was an omen in the story that change would happen.

The once comfortable relationship that the Children of Israel enjoyed

Was at the whims of a new regime.

A new direction.

A lack of favoritism.

They would have to adapt.

As does my friend Matt.

He cannot survive off the nostalgia of the “golden years.”

Or good sentimentality.

No, it’s time to go about the ministry in front of him.

Time to change his past relationship.

And Matt’s story is no different than our own.

We are called to this change too.

I know I am.

I have a long history in Nevada County.

A long history in Nevada City.

But I cannot rely on that.

I can see it as an opportunity to minister,

But not as a place to settle into.

Life is dynamic.

Ministry is dynamic.

And we are called to change.

Like Dr. David shared with us on Sunday.

Jesus was transfigured before the eyes of the three that were with Him.

He was changed.

He was heading into the mystery that is ministry.

Setting His eyes to the sacrifice He would make would change Him.

And those who were with Him,

Peter James and John,

They would be changed too.

How could they have not been?

They saw Moses and Elijah with their Teacher, Jesus.

They knew it was a holy moment.

And the change that would come to them would be difficult.

Peter is a great example of this.

Lots of mistakes.

But a continuous path forward in faith.

A determination to change.

To be changed.

And, Like Dr. David shared, Lent is a season of change.

A season of deciding what should change.

An opportunity to do some self-examination.

Make an evaluation of our place in this journey of faith.

And make a decision.

Like the woman in the Gospel of Mark chapter 5.

She had been hemorrhaging for 12 years.

Which made her unclean.

Which excluded her from communal living.

Because her bleeding would make others unclean too.

She decided that the fruitless chasing after “healing” was empty.

That she needed to see the Teacher. Mark records it this way,

“She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Immediately her flow of blood stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.”

Jesus rewards her faith.

Her desire to change and the belief that Jesus could do that for her.

This changed her and the course of her life.

Forever.

Which is what this journey is about.

Going forward in faith.

Deciding to agree with God about who we are.

And who we are called to be.

Knowing that no change ever happens without a first step.

Like Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water towards Jesus.

He had to take that first step of faith out of the safety of the boat.

And fix his eyes on Jesus.

Like the writer of Hebrews in chapter 12 encourages us,

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Brothers and sisters in Christ.

May this Lent be a time of change for all of us.

May we examine ourselves and set out to make changes that we desire.

May we seek God’s Spirit to empower us to do so.

Blessings,

brad+

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