Hating and Embracing Change
Since it is now reaching 90˚ do you say that summer is here? Spring days are filled with ups and downs: warm to snowy to rainy to frosty. But summer is a fairly consistent season with the heat and humidity and (hopefully more) warm evening thunderstorms. As much as you love it or hate it, these summer days will eventually change as cooler nights disrupt our barbeques and pool parties. Heraclitus “Harry” of Ephesus famously coined the phrase “ The only constant, is change.
If there is so much change, why do we like consistency? We like knowing what to expect and what is required. We like knowing our home and our friends, our neighborhood and school. It’s comfortable it’s familiar. We like consistency because we’re lazy. Well, maybe that’s not the right word, a better reason is that “we like to conserve our energy because there might be a bigger change to face later.”
When faced with a change, it often involves our whole brain to listen harder to new voices, to look sharper at new surroundings, navigate our bodies amid new situations and make decisions with unknown outcomes. A change means we have to THINK more. Unfortunately, it is way easier for our brains to simply reject/ignore a change than to address it. True confession, I ignored a traffic signal this weekend that changed from yellow to red and coasted through the intersection anyway. Easier than sitting at the light admitting to myself that being late was my own fault.
Not all change needs to be feared, of course. When our brains are stressed and challenged because of changes we are able to grow. This, in essence is where learning comes from. There is a reason that people who embrace change tend to have happier and more productive lives than those who fear and resent it. Our brains actually need change to stay healthy. People can avoid change for a season. But like Harry said 2500 years ago, you cannot escape it, and the longer you ignore something, the harder it becomes to address it.
This Summer we will explore the book of Genesis, a book that, at its heart is a book of “changes.” It is a marvelous work of characters and history spanning thousands of years. There are mysterious references to cities long abandoned and characters with mystical powers. And while there is a single promise that threads its way throughout, the book of Genesis’ focus is people facing changes.
God is not afraid of change. In fact, God embraces change. God changed the darkness into light and swirling waters of creation into plants and animals. God changes people’s names after they learn who they truly are. God calls people to live as immigrants. God changes Jacob to Israel. God provided a life of abundance for Joseph that changed his life of pain and betrayal.
Even today, God is at work in the changes. Let us not be afraid of change. Let us listen, let us pray, let us learn more and more what it means to be God’s people here today.