If you’re of a certain generation, you remember being told not to use those “nasty 4-letter words.” They weren’t nice…weren’t used in public (and not really in private either).
I think, though, I’ve become aware of a 6-letter word that has in many ways taken the place of those 4-letter words. What word is that? C-H-A-N-G-E
As I read many of my Facebook postings, I get a sense that there are many who see change as something negative…something to be feared and avoided. They want life to be as it was “in the good old days”. There’s been too much change too quickly.
But life constantly changes.
I do understand the concerns of some of my friends who think that theologically we may be changing simply for the sake of change. Unfortunately sometimes I think that has been (and still may be) true. But I belong to a faith tradition that believes in a constantly revealing God–and if God is constantly revealing Godself, then we are constantly learning something new about God and about God’s desire for us. If we respond to that call…which is what I believe we are called to do…then we must change.
We’re in the season of Advent right now…and that celebrates a time of change.
The people of Jesus’ day were looking for a Messiah…for someone who would bring changes to their world. The Messiah came–but many didn’t recognize him, because he didn’t fit their expectations. They didn’t expect a baby…a child born in a stable…someone who was acknowledged first by people who were outcasts (shepherds) and foreigners (Magi). They didn’t expect the grown Messiah to be friends with those who were unclean…who were not acceptable. They expected the Messiah to throw out the Romans…not to minister to those who were willing to accept his ministry. And they definitely weren’t expecting a Messiah who would submit to the worst of all deaths–to be tortured by the flogging and then to be put to death on a cross…a death reserved for traitors and slaves.
But Jesus did change the world. Perhaps not completely…but we still talk about him…still worship him…still try to figure out what he was calling us to do–and it’s some 2000 years later.
Our world still isn’t perfect. Maybe it never will be. But we won’t know unless we try. And to do that, we have to stop being afraid of that 6-letter word.