By Charlene Epp, Dialogue Resource Team
“The only thing that is constant in life is change.” This quote is attributed to more than one individual from ancient to modern history. Regardless of who said it, the statement may be met with a wide range of responses from readers, depending on each reader’s experience of change. Applying the ideas of this statement to a community or group of people only furthers the intrigue of how the shared experience of changes will be embraced.
As a conference we are experiencing change and transition. Last month’s “With Care…” noted many transitions within the conference. Other congregational leadership changes are also included in the Zing! Publications. All this is in the midst of changes within our denomination as we navigate living faithfully in the midst of difference around theological actions and interpretations while faithfully following Christ. In the meantime, there is the multitude of changes we face within our individual and family lives.
Some changes come as welcome even though these changes also require adjustments and involve a range of feelings. Such changes are often met with energy and willingness to encounter what is required to embrace such changes. We all can also identify those changes that are not met with the same kind of enthusiasm. Such changes may require changing the way we act towards or think about someone or something. Matters requiring a change of heart or mind entail commitment for an unknown duration of time to see a change become more a part of one’s being.
Those aware of, or working with, the treatment of addictions may be familiar with “The Wheel of Change”. This is a tool that can help in understanding the process of addiction as well as the challenges involved in overcoming the addiction. It emphasizes how for each choice there is a consequence, and making changes that move one away from addiction require patience and persistence. It also demonstrates recognizing where one is at in the process of change in order to continue the movement of change in a healthy direction. It may be worth considering what “addictions” keeps us as a faith community from making healing changes in our individual or our corporate life, as a conference or denomination. What are the barriers we raise to change? To what types of change do we find ourselves resistant?
Psalm 46 proclaims: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.” Some changes happening around us may seem colossal in nature. Scripture reminds us that God is in the midst of these changes, a refuge and source of strength to see us through to an unknown newness of being. A blessing and challenge of being community is finding ways to change and grow while remaining in healthy relationship together, allowing ourselves and the conference as a whole to be transformed as a result of the process. By virtue of being followers of Christ we are not alone on the journey, and as a community of believers we have faithful travelers on the road with us.
In the next months, DRT members will be writing about aspects of change in articles published in ZING! These articles are offered in hope and with prayer that they will generate discussion and thought amongst us about how we as individuals and a collective meet the changes which surround us. We invite you to share your ideas and thoughts on “change” with us. Together we can more fully embrace what opportunities lay before us with these changes.