Bob Dylan said it over 40 years ago…but it is as true today as it has ever been. The only thing guaranteed in this life seems to be change. Ministry has undergone changes and the struggles that come about as a result of change for millennia. James Trader, curator at Cane Ridge, once shared with a District 8 Clergy meeting his study of the Great Worship Wars of the turn of the century…the 19th Century, that is. It seems churches struggled with new contemporary music from the likes of Fanny Crosby long before the Hillsong, Steven Curtis Chapman, the David Crowder Band or even Laura Story came to the music scene.
At camp, there seems to be tension between the energizers and ‘the old camp songs.’ Ultimately, just as in worship, we end up singing both and everyone enjoys all the music. But, music isn’t the only thing that makes a congregation cringe when it comes to the word ‘change.’ We’ve seen the heightened sensitivities with technology too. And, as we continue to move forward into God’s call and to grow ourselves spiritually, we come to terms with the little changes along the way and learn to relax and trust in God to instigate a little change in us.
As we age, there are changes that take place in our minds and bodies. We don’t respond to exercise when we’re older as we did in our 20s. We start to require a little more ‘down’ time than we once needed or more that just 4 or 5 hours of sleep. Learning something new doesn’t come as easily as it once did. Even our digestion seems to change with time. Our taste buds mature and we’ll eat more vegetables than we used to and our fat cells seem to decide as we age that we’ve grown comfortable enough with one another after all these years, we might as well just remain close friends.
I suppose one of the hardest realities of change comes to us as we watch our children grow. One day we’re rocking them to sleep in the middle of the night and the next we’re teaching them how to change a tire because they’re driving now. The world is not the same for them as it was for us…but then the world we grew into was not the same as the one our parents knew, and every generation has had to come to terms with that reality. The question remains, is it better today or worse? Yes! We’ve conquered many illnesses and maladies. We’ve opened up opportunities for minorities. We have more options than we’ve ever had for humanity…and yet there is still suffering, injustice and poverty. The times they are a-changing. How do you go about making those changes create life-giving opportunities for others? Are you simply riding the wave or are you resisting the tide? I have a teen driver now…the last one. This makes me all too aware the time I have left to help form her into a responsible, caring individual to turn loose on society is short. I feel my time is running out…so maybe it’s time to start prioritizing. What lessons can humanity not live without? I’m interested in hearing your advice for what we must instill in our youth before they reach adulthood. Let me know your thoughts.