Dear Partners in Mission:
One of the most difficult parts of leading in these times is the pace of change. Change that we bring upon ourselves. Change that comes to us from outside. And the reality that it is usually both the internal and external that move change.
Change can be experienced as a negative. Things we thought we knew no longer are true, a relationship we valued may end, a job might be lost, etc. But it also can be an immensely positive thing. We make changes for healthy lifestyles, prioritize sabbath rest, learn new skills, end a relationship that was unhelpful, etc.
Change also inevitably, even when positive, brings grief, and grief is often tied up in what we thought would be. The future story we had created about how things would turn out. And we all have these stories and, given the realities of the time in which we live, we all have grief. In our synod we grieve when congregations choose to faithfully end ministry, even when that ending will help bring new beginnings. We grieve as Briarwood changes from what we knew, even as we give thanks for the new thing it will be. Continuing to serve our synod and able to bless ministry and support its constitutionally defined purposes. Remembering that the church or any ministry of the church is not made up of property, but the people of God proclaiming the gospel.
During Lent we are called to consider changes. Changes in our focus perhaps manifesting in different worship practices or daily devotions. Making a discipline of prayer or fasting. Intentionally changing our lifestyle to remind us of the suffering Christ will undergo in Holy Week. Suffering that caused Jesus to grieve and weep. But suffering that ultimately brings the greatest change of all to the world. That death no longer has the last word. That change to which we are joined in baptism so that we too might live a new life. Our weeping will turn to joy. But first we must continue this season of Lent. Taking seriously our changes and looking with hope to God’s action on Easter.
In Mission Together: