From the Desk of Pastor Olsen
Remaining unchanged is not an option. We exist in a changing environment. If you have steadfastly refused to enter into the computer age, you are probably having a difficult time finding a store that still carries typewriter ribbons. If you are a cellphone refusnik, you have no doubt noticed that phone booths are fewer, farer between and less reliably functional. Eventually, we change because it finally becomes easier than remaining unchanged. Put somewhat differently, we change when the discomfort of staying put becomes greater than the fear of what lies ahead.
Human nature prefers the status quo. I should know. I have been eating the same breakfast cereal for the last forty years and have no interest in experimenting with any other. I must confess that part of what has drawn me to parish ministry is the rhythm of the church year, the predictability of its seasons and the recurring hymns and liturgy that punctuate life with sweetness. Change threatens to throw the seasons off kilter and steer me into uncharted territory. So I instinctively resist change. I fear that it will disrupt the regularity of what I have come to know as a rewarding and satisfying existence.
In reality, however, there is no such thing as the status quo. We are, as C.S. Lewis puts it, moving toward hatching or sinking into decay. Resisting change is therefore a self-imposed death sentence, the price paid by all who fear change more than death.
Jesus came to save us from decay and stagnation. That is why his parables frequently are packed with images of change: yeast causing bread to rise; the mustard seed becoming a sturdy bush; the fig tree breaking into blossom. Jesus would jar us awake and inspire growth.
This year at our Lenten Midweek Eucharist we will explore change through the lens of our biblical narrative. The Bible reminds us that the God we worship calls us to change-which is another word for repentance. As painful and frightening as it can sometimes be, change is the medium through which God works to transform us into people capable of living joyfully in the kingdom of heaven.
Finish, then, thy new creation; Pure and holy let us be; Let us see they great salvation Perfectly restored in thee! Changed from glory into glory, Till in heav'n we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before thee, Lost in wonder, love and grace.