I do not remember a more beautiful Spring. Perhaps there have been others in my past that have come close, but none stands out so much. Today’s colors burst in ways that seem impossible to have ever been so bright. The warm sun is a revelation every time I step into its embrace. The longer stretch of daylight hours illumines my spirit in deep ways I cannot recall.
It is the difference, I suppose, between today and two months ago that is so striking. The change. The dramatic alteration in weather has made it more precious to me this year. When you live in a climate where seasonal shifts are small and subtle, your regard for their differences is small, too. Appreciation for the calendar’s progression is diminished when the variance is of little account. Yet when you emerge dramatically from the frozen months into this newness, how could you do anything less than delight in it effusively?
What is causing all of this is change: wonderfully different newness. I would generally say I do not like change. I resist it. I try to devise a world where it happens as infrequently as I can manage, even though all attempts to tamp it down never do. Certainly, I am not alone. Humans fear change and cling to the status quo. I assume much of this is fear about what the alterations in life might bring. Also, we make our peace with a certain sort of equilibrium. Moreover, during those particularly cherished seasons, when fortune has most beneficently shined on us, we figure nothing so good is likely to come our way again.
Yet life is change. It is as natural as the movement through the seasons. Obviously, at times change comes as welcome as the Spring. Other times, it looms as bleak as Winter. What is inevitable is its occurring.
I write this during a week when we will celebrate and mark the end of Erin Hensley’s ministry at St. John’s. It also finds me starting conversations with new candidates to serve this parish’s future as our next Associate Rector. Shelley and I, as of yesterday, have a signed contract on a new home (pray, knock on wood, do a lucky dance, whatever to help us make this happen). At the top of my e-mails is one from our new Minister to Children and Families, Meredith Harper, announcing a whole slew of opportunities for our children this summer. Next week, we get to spend time with my old friend, Barkley Thompson, whom you know even better than I, from days past, which have long since changed.
My life for over a year, has swirled in a universe of change. Some of these shifts I have handled well, grabbing ahold of them enthusiastically with expectation and hope. Others I have faced with doubt, fear and even, in embarrassing moments, self-pity. For some years, St. John’s has also swirled in a universe of change, in Rectors and Associates, ministry leaders and programs. For you, like me, some of these changes were met with excitement and others with deep concern. Maybe what all of this suggests is you and I are well suited to be together right now, because we both understand intimately what it means to change.
The change in the weather is breathtaking and a universally embraced good. Other changes are harder to read in the short term. Yet the God who colors the barren trees with the brilliant colors of new life is also the One who turned the grave into the place of resurrection. God is all about change, and all about, ultimately, seeing it through to a good end.
God is in the change. Not that God causes it all, but God is forever working through it all.
In the midst of change, we must forever recall who is behind this thing called life. Is it we alone? If so, there is every reason to fear the unknown. Is it God, working in and through it all to bring his good purposes to life? Well, then, there is every reason to hope.
God is working in the change. Therefore, expect resurrection! Expect life to win the day! Expect change, with Jesus, to always end in resurrection!
Alive with you in Christ,
The Reverend Eric Long, Rector