How are you with change?
It’s holiday season when many of us will go away for a change of scene – “a change is as good as a rest”, the saying goes although I am hoping for both!
Many of our young people are preparing for change as they say goodbye to old classes, familiar teachers and maybe even schools.
I learnt a long time ago that I enjoy change – if I have instigated it! I am excited by it if I have control over it. I am less happy when change is imposed upon me. Taking myself out of my comfort zone to embrace new experiences and new challenges is one thing. Being pushed out of my comfort zone is quite another!
Last November we had, as a Church, to face up to the change of Graham and Janet leaving Otley. We felt the pain of loss but then had to settle into the new normal. But we knew it was a temporary norm and we looked forward with anticipation to welcoming a new vicar. Things have been put on hold and we concentrate on supporting each other and encouraging those who have stepped up to fill the gaps. We have, I think, done ok!
But now we know that it is Aaron Kennedy who will be our new vicar, we must prepare to welcome him and his family to Otley.
So, very soon it will be all change again. As the family prepare to leave their current home, their church and their friends, can we prepare for their arrival? Can we prepare our hearts to welcome and embrace the changes that will and should be coming? Let us look forward to change which will undoubtedly benefit us all, and not keep saying, “but Graham always did it like this…”
In times of unrest, perhaps you comfort yourself with the knowledge that God does not change. Hebrews 13 vs. 8 reminds us that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever”. Malachi 3 vs. 6 says, “I the Lord do not change”.
And whilst it is true that God does not change, our knowledge of Him, our experience of Him and our relationship with Him does and should change. As we learn more, grow more and experience more the God we thought we knew and understood will change. That can feel scary. But that is why we are in community with each other so we can uphold each other in uncertain times.
I am hopeful that under Aaron’s ministry we will change, and our knowledge of, and our relationship with God, will also change. I hope we will try new things and will embrace new opportunities for mission and growth.
A few Sundays ago we learnt a new song:
We are not made for the harbour
We are made for the sea
Though at times it’s wild and cold and dark,
It’s where we are meant to be.
You launch us out as a Father
Though we may be tossed about,
But your presence in the storm
It walls us in and calls us out.
Let us be sea people and not harbour people here at OPC.
I love the C.S. Lewis quote from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Susan asks of Aslam, “Is he quite safe?” Mr Beaver replies, “Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But he is GOOD”.
In this next season let’s remember we love and serve Jesus who isn’t safe but who is very good. Let us be willing to embrace the changes that are up ahead and let’s get ready to give Aaron, Grace, Gabriel and Clement, an OPC welcome as we look forward to growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus with them.