From the Desktop of the Pastor – week of the 5th Sunday after Epiphany

Good afternoon everyone,

One thing that is striking me now seemingly more than ever before, is how much we are living in a time of change.  Not that we weren’t living in a changing world before, but now (for whatever reason) it seems very apparent to me.  Our planet is changing.  Our politics are changing.  The way we see life is changing.  Whether we see the change as good or bad, necessary or not, we cannot deny that it is changing.  Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, but always changing.

I remember when I was a kid, I would walk 15-20 minutes with my siblings to school, regardless of how cold it was outside (however I had shoes and it wasn’t uphill both ways).  Now I drive my kids to school regardless of how sunny it is outside.  When I was a kid, I would have to consult our decent encyclopedia collection to learn about something I was interested in.  Now I literally ask my phone to give me the information I seek.  When I was a kid, I would have to wait my turn for our phone line to be free to call up one of my friends for a chat.  Now I have a dozen different ways of contacting people but I would be lucky to even use one.  When I was a kid, I would be able to play with my toys and exercise my creativity without shame.  Now… well I still play with my toys but I usually have to wait for everyone to leave the room first…

Things sure do change.

And that could be unsettling.  It could be uncomfortable.  It could drive up our anxiety levels and make us grasp for things that we think will help us feel stable, controlled, and perhaps the same as we always have.

And as we probably figured out, it doesn’t always work out for us.  Yet we try.  We hope.  We keep looking for that unchanging rock in our lives that grounds us and gives us a sense of normalcy.  When we find it, we hold on for dear life.  But if and when it changes, then we start the process all over again.

Let’s look at next week’s readings:
Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 112:1-9
I Corinthians 2:1-12
Matthew 5:13-20

Jesus calls God’s people two things in this week’s gospel lesson: salt and light.  The interesting thing about these two things in regards on all that stuff about change I was talking about earlier, is that if we change salt or light too much, they cease to be salt or light.  Salt is not salt if it is not salty, nor is light light if it doesn’t… um… light.

So what is Jesus saying when we calls us these things?  Is he saying that we won’t change?  Which we know isn’t true because we already established that we change.  Is he saying that things around us don’t change?  We know that isn’t true either as things around us change probably faster than we do.  So what is he saying?

Looking at the gospel in conjunction with the other texts and I suppose the rest of the bible, what I hear Jesus telling us that while we change and things around us change, while the world changes and how we treat the world changes, while everything that can change will change, God’s love for us will not.  God will not change.  God’s regard for us, how God sees us, and how God holds us in God’s hands will not change.  God’s Word in the person of Jesus will not change.  God’s lessons for us about life and love through the prophets and the Law will never change.

This is the rock to which we can cling.  That even when everything around us may seem unstable and fragile, God will be our foundation, our strength, our very help in our time of need.  For that, I thank God with all my being.  Praise be to God!

Have a great week, everyone!

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