Which way Lord?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A Greek Philosopher called Heraclitus is quoted as saying;

The only constant in life is change

At some level, he is right.  We are all in the process of change because, every day, we are one day older.  Our bodies never stop changing throughout life, and even beyond (bit morbid – sorry!).  Some changes we can help and some are beyond our control. 

As I have been thinking about change, I have also reflected, that some change is good and other changes less so.  Some change I readily embrace, and some leaves me feeling unsettled and uncertain.  Some change, I choose and other changes are forced upon me by circumstances.

This was really brought home to me the other day. 

We are in the process of moving.  At the end of this month, I will be leaving the Church I have been privileged to serve for the last 14 years.  As with most ministers, when we leave our job, we leave our homes, our local support networks and our familiar surroundings.  The contacts and responsibilities we have built up, are laid down.  We do this so that we can fully enter life in a new setting and, hopefully, avoid the pull of the past.

I am discovering that, this is not an event, it is a process that needs to be gone through. 

So, as part of the process, I went through my diary of appointments from August onwards.  I took out church and deacons meetings.  Housegroups.  Prayer meetings.  Responsibilities. School governor meetings.  I took out parade services.  Items that needed to be dealt with by a certain date were the next to be deleted.  As I deleted, I prayed and handed the people, the situations, the joys and the sorrows over to God, I released them into his care.

For the first time in 14 years, I had a blank diary!

I can imagine a certain individual (and she may even read this blog!) who will be saying “and how did that feel?”. 

My response would be “unsettling.” 

Please, do not misunderstand me, I am really excited about the future. I am looking forward to the move and, I know, the reality of ministry says, the diary will soon get filled again.  But, in the meantime, the blank page is unnerving and leads me to ask the question “what now God?”

Yesterday, I was at a gathering where a prayer was shared by William Sloan Coffin (great name) that seemed to sum up a lot of how I am feeling at the moment.  I share that with you and hope it speaks to you too;

O God, whose mercy is ever faithful and ever sure, you are our refuge and our strength in time of trouble, visit us, we beseech thee—for we are in trouble.

We need a hope that is made wise by experience and is undaunted by disappointment.

We need an anxiety about the future that shows us new ways to look at new things but does not unnerve us.

As a people, we need to remember that our influence was greatest when our power was weakest.

Most of all, we need to turn to you, O God,

and our crucified Lord,

for only his humility and his strength can heal and free us.

O God, be our our sole strength in time of trouble.

In the midst of anxiety, grant us the grace to count our blessings—the simple ones:

health,

food,

sleep,

one another,

a spring that is bursting out all over, a nation which, despite all, has so much to offer so many.

And, grant us to count our more complicated blessings: our failures, which teach us so much more than success;

our lack of money, which points to the only truly renewable resources, the resources of our spirit; our lack of health, yes, even the knowledge of death,

for until we learn that life is limitation,

we are surely as formless and as shallow as a stream without its banks.

Send us forth into a new week with a gladsome mind, free and joyful in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

(William Sloan Coffin, Riverside Church)

3 thoughts on “Which way Lord?

  1. Thank you Sean, we feel the same uncertainty as we step into the unknown once again.God bless you and us as we all move forward xx we’ll miss you so much xx

  2. My training Vicar always said “There is nothing so permanent as change”
    Your article is so true and wise words as always – has that changed – yes and no!
    Ha ha ha

  3. Thank you Sean for sharing your thoughts on ‘change’. We are also facing that change . We wish you well. We are really going to miss you but, like you, we have to move forward. I pray that the Lord will bless you and your family in everything that you do. We have been privileged for the last 15 years to have received your ministry.

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