By Bill Martin
She was a little plump but cute. He was that cute, little, freckled kid. Adults see them both as cute, but the kids only see the plump and the freckles, and with that they wish they could change.
The good thing is, they do change with time. The plump becomes shapely and the freckles fade into distant memory.
Time has a way of effecting change. The things we worry about at one age are either forgotten at another or simply become part of the treasured memories. The constant is change.
As kids, we cannot change fast enough. But as adults, change hastens out of our control.
As we age, time produces its effects at ever increasing speed. The seemingly interminable period of childhood gives way to adulthood which begins to pass like a runaway freight train on a long hill. Weeks, even months, seem to take on the traits of days as we pile on the years, all the while changing as we go.
Oddly, most people reach a point where change becomes the enemy. Perhaps it is fear of the destination, but adults arrive at a point where they want everything to stay the same and they begin to chastise those who offer new ideas or new methods of approaching old concerns.
Even more oddly, this seems especially true for people of faith. We get to a point where the familiar becomes the standard, and for some, the only allowable. There is not a church anywhere that doesn’t turn itself inside-out every time somebody proposes a change.
It might be a change in music, a new coat of paint in a different colour, the addition of modern conveniences, musical instruments, technology, or worse, a change in setting, style or mood.
For many, changing a Christian setting is tantamount to sacrilege.
Yet, change is what Christian faith is all about. Christ came to change the world. His miraculous birth marked a change so profound that we are still reeling from His presence more than 2,000 years later.
In fact, this very week, in the Christian church, we mark a dramatic change in moving from the season of Epiphany to the season of Lent. This is a stark change, moving from light to darkness, in truth, moving from life toward death.
In Epiphany we began to see Jesus not as a man but as God. The season of Epiphany records events revealing the divinity of Christ, first as an infant visited by the Magi or wise men and culminating with His transfiguration or blinding brightness as witnessed by three of His disciples.
Contrast that with the period of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday, marked with black soot on the forehead, a symbol of Christ on the cross.
This is change, dramatic change, moving from the celebration of life to the sombreness of death.
This is change, Christian change, moving from God with us to His death upon the cross, and then His departure from us through His ascension into heaven.
In truth, Christ is all about change. From His willingness to pay the price for our sin so that we can become new, to the promise of a new heaven and earth, Jesus Christ is the very symbol of change.
It would be perfectly accurate to refer to Jesus as a revolutionary, a word described by one dictionary as “involving or causing a complete or dramatic change.” He is the very instrument of change and to follow Christ, indeed to be a disciple of Christ, you march to a radically different drum.
It never ceases to amaze me how so many people can espouse their Christian belief and then turn inside-out at the suggestion of change. They are fine with the concept of repentance, but God forbid they are asked to change.
You see my point. Repentance is nothing more than change, wholesale change, 180-degree change.
As we move toward Easter, let’s keep in mind that He died so that we can change.
TAGLINE: Bill Martin is pastor at Debert Baptist Church. He teaches that problems should not intimidate you, they should motivate you.