From the Pastor

May, 2022

Change and Transition

At the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus states, “Follow Me”.  Peter and Jesus had just finished having a conversation that not only restores Peter but challenges him to change.  He is being asked to become the leader of the new church that Jesus is going to leave behind.  Not just one place but to lead and tend all who profess Jesus as Savior.  At first, he just does not get it but not to worry, Peter will have help.  The Gospel is giving us, the reader, the invitation to change as well.

William Bridges, who focused a good part of his life and career on change and transitions, wrote the following:

“It is a paradox: to achieve continuity, we have to be willing to change.  Change is, in fact, the only way to protect whatever exists, for without continuous readjustment the present cannot continue…The refusal to change will not guarantee that whatever we care about stays the same. It only assures that whatever we care about has been deprived of the very thing it needs in order to survive.” (the way of transition-embracing life’s most difficult moments)

It is an excellent book, and I would recommend it to everyone.  (We could also make it a group study)

If we look, the world is continuously in a process of change.  We see God constantly in a creative process around us.  For example, it wasn’t that long ago the grass was not bright green, leaves hadn’t started to come, and no flowering plants could be found outside.

In John’s Gospel after the resurrection, Peter returned to what he knew – fishing.  I have often wondered what would have happened if Jesus had not told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat?  Would they still be out there looking for fish?  Habits are hard to change, and Peter was full of them.  Jesus prepares him throughout the Gospel, but it is at the very end of the Gospel that Jesus gives Peter his commission.  Jesus recognizes that Peter will be a work-in-progress and gives him his instructions three times.  He will get there eventually but not that day.  In fact, Jesus must tell him to follow him.  We find Peter distracted by others behind him and not paying attention.  Jesus loved him greatly.  It is not merely a change that Jesus is asking from him but to transition to a new way of being.  He is to grow from being Simon the fisherman to Peter the rock on which the church is built.  That is not going to be easy, but it is vital if the church is to survive and ultimately flourish.

Jesus loves us greatly as well.  We are like Peter.  We go back to our old habits, our old way of being, and our old ways of thinking when we are left without guidance.  Jesus would call out to us to cast our nets on the other side of the boat so that we could focus on Christ.  We, too, are asked to follow.  We also are asked to not just change for the convenience of the moment but to truly transition from being who we were before Christ to who we become after Christ.

Our faith is not just a mental exercise but a fundamental way of ordering our lives so that we can live in a transformed way.  Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  We are not content or intent to just change our surroundings but to transform them.  In order to do that we need to be transformed first.  We will adapt and alter our lives.  We do so not because of sense of desperation but to find life wholly and completely.  We are called to follow the Christ to life…life complete and eternal.

    Peace,

   Pastor Ed

 

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