In my favorite television show growing up, Homer Simpson talks with his 8 year old daughter Lisa. The family is facing another weekly crisis.
The optimistic, erudite Lisa turns to her hapless father saying, “You know, Dad, the Chinese use the same word for crisis as they do for opportunity.”
Homer looks up with a renewed sense of hope and conviction in his eyes, stands up tall and says, “Yes, Lisa: crisi-tunity!”
While you may have heard this popular motivational explanation before, the Mandarin Chinese word does not actually mean “crisis/opportunity.” A more accurate translation is “danger/point of change.” Homer and Lisa are not the only people to have faced change which often provokes worry, anger, and most of all, fear.
I recently sat down with the Worship Commission and had a long conversation with them about some of the changes in our Sunday service. There were compliments about kids and sermons. But there were also concerns about the changes.
I know change is hard, and I don’t like change myself. I am a creature of habits and routines and when my plans are changed I get grouchy, and feel like complaining. I get upset at losing my plans, losing my hopes for the day, and losing the sense that I was in control. Yet God always reminds me that God’s grace is enough, I was never really in control, and change does not really mean I will lose anything.
Somehow even little changes can cause us to fear great loss. It’s like losing a piece of our identity when we give up something so familiar. Changing the Apostles Creed is not just updating to more contemporary language, it is also a generation having to give up a lifetime of worship experience to accept a whole new language. That is a big deal. It causes fear because it is perceived as a loss. We all fear losing things that are dear to us.
Jesus didn’t fear change. Change does not equal loss. We change all the time. We change clothes, we change cars, we change houses, and in all those changes we retain who we are. We keep our identity and hope for the future intact through life’s many changes. My goal is to help Southminster stay true to its identity in Christ. We are a mixed bag of people: different generations, different expectations, and different hopes for the future.
My hope is that through these small changes, though we might fear a personal sense of loss, we might rejoice in expanding our fellowship, increasing our repertoire, and speaking the love of Jesus in new ways. If we keep our focus on uniting around Jesus and his saving death and resurrection, we will no longer be afraid. “Neither angels or demons, life or death, language or wording can separate us from the love of God.”
- Pastor Karl