E-pistle November 7

Things that Change and Things that Don’t Change
 
In the days immediately following September 11, 2001, we were told repeatedly that “things will never be the same again.”  And in many ways that counsel was wise and true.  Our world is a very different world than it was on September 10, 2001.  But in other ways it is the same old world.  Not much has changed and what has changed is rooted in things long before 9/11 and far from the World Trade Center. 
 
After 9/11 some people looked for a religious revival as they thought Americans would surely be driven to consider the deeper things and the still more excellent way.  But eight years later, church attendance continues to decline as it has every year since the 1960’s.  We are more interested in consumption and pleasure than we are in faith, hope and love. 

The recent collapse of the financial markets is not a result of Islamacist terror; it is the result of bipartisan greed.
 
So, we should be careful how we respond when we are told that things will never be the same again.  That being said, things may never be the same again after this week, and it was an amazing week.  Our partisan convictions aside, it was an amazing week, and some things will never be the same again. 
 
Let me encourage you to ready Peggy Noonan’s column into today’s Wall Street Journal.  You should read it precisely because Peggy Noonan is partisan.  A former Reagan speech writer, she did not campaign for President-Elect Obama, yet she rightly sees the significance of this week’s election and the profound and good things it says about the American experiment and the American future.
 
Things are changing in America and the world.  Like it or not they are changing.  I agree with Noonan when she writes, “You're lucky to live through big history. And you're living through it.”
 
Barack Obama’s election changes American politics.  It gratefully welcomes ethnic and racial minorities to all places in the system.  Long time coming.  You don’t have to agree with the soon-to-be president’s policies to be grateful for barriers broken. 
 
Things are changing in America and the world.  Soon there may be no Chrysler Corporation and maybe no General Motors, the once reliable bellwether of what was good for America.  Some jobs lost never come back.  Ours are scary times.
 
Things are changing in America and the world – and in the American Presbyterian Church.  Many of you know that we have begun another one of our divisive fights over ordination standards.  But there are some of us who are trying to find some new ways to frame the question.  I am privileged to have a small role in one of the groups mentioned in the article and am cautiously optimistic about our work.  And things will change at LPC.  They always do. 
 
Every so often change takes the form of a tsunami or an avalanche. Usually it takes the form a constant drip that in a million years carves a Grand Canyon.  Believe it or not, it takes a lot of wisdom to know the difference between a tsunami and a drip.  We get them mixed up all the time. 
 
The God we meet in Jesus Christ is a God of change.  He delights in doing a new thing.  And in changing us from the inside out.  Nothing is ever the same again when you fall into the hands of the living God. 
 
But here’s the irony in it all.  We can trust the change that God brings because God never changes.  Ours are scary times.  But we do not lose hope because our hope is firm and secure.
 
Thanks be to God!