As the world turns

For a year and a half I have known that the moment was approaching when I would step away from pastoring the church I have served for 21 years. On September 1, I will no longer be the pastor of a church. It’s the right decision for me, for the congregation. This choice has kicked up memories, moments of celebration, occasions for regret. Having negotiated many changes in my life- some part of a plan, some not of my choosing – I am aware of this:  God has new opportunities for me and a fresh vision for them.

Nostalgia is nice, as a temporary diversion, but we cannot successfully navigate our way into the future while staring into the rear-view mirror of life.  We will surely miss the best that God has prepared for us IF we let the rosy tint of memory convince us that life was better back then.  I have to remind myself that memory is highly selective.  History gets rewritten by our present understanding and/or emotional needs. As we think only of the ‘good old days,’ we tend to forget God’s faithfulness in the ‘ordinary.’  Our recall usually involves the headline events – big moments of joy or sorrow, major triumphs or terrible failure.

Try to think of this date – July 29 – in 2011.  Unless something special happened  or you have kept a journal, I doubt you can remember what you had for breakfast, who you met, or where you went. Our memories are built around celebrations, Christmases, vacations, getting a new homes or starting a new job. On the other side of that we recall the awful moments of breakups, financial loss, or death. But, real life is lived in unremarkable moments – shared breakfasts, meetings, commutes to work, irritations like broken appliances, arguments about a missed appointment:  those many ordinary days when God’s grace keeps us and we live in the flow of time. 

A song that I find myself humming, singing even, often recently is that old hymn – “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” I love this line – “Summer and winter, Springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above; join with all nature in manifold witness, to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love!”  The world turns and in that predictable change of seasons, sunrise and sunset, there is mute testimony to God’s goodness. In worship of the Eternal God, I find my heart and mind at peace.

Ah, friend are you facing some change? The truth is that we all are because time leaves nothing unchanged. This world is not the same today as it was a year ago, nor our situation be the same a year from now.  We are not adrift, without security, in this sea of change. There is an anchor for us who know God – His great faithfulness.  Our Savior’s love is unwavering, constant. The Word assures that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV)

Let’s not miss the moment, trying to recapture yesterday’s glory or fix its mistakes. Let’s not let today’s opportunity slip past because we are lost in some fantastic reverie about tomorrow. Paul’s wise counsel teaches us to live NOW – “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18, NIV)  

Here’s a word from the Word. Jesus reminds us that God, the Spirit, is working in us now. “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be torn, and the patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. The new wine would burst the old skins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be put into new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the fresh and the new. ‘The old is better,’ they say.”” (Luke 5:36-39, NLT)

Lord, lead us to the joy of this moment, to faithfulness to the calling  of this day.  Amen.


Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine

O what a foretaste of glory divine

Heir of salvation purchase of God

Born of His Spirit washed in His blood

This is my story this is my song

Praising my Savior all the day long

This is my story this is my song

Praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission all is at rest

I in my Savior am happy and blest

Watching and waiting looking above

Filled with His goodness lost in His love

Fanny Jane Crosby

© Words: Public Domain

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