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Sunday, February 21, 2016

02172016 Wednesday of Lent 1 - God Enables us to be His Agents of Change

February 17, 2016
Change of Season: God enables us to be His agents of Change

In 1829, the Governor of New York wrote a letter that clearly feared change.  This was a time when this land that Goodland inhabits today was still controlled by Indians and the Buffalo roamed with wild abandon.  But the Governor wrote of the need to keep the Erie Canal that connected Western New York with Eastern New York open and operational.  For the canal was the life blood of the state and region.  It not only transported goods, but had an entire infrastructure of people that relied upon it for their daily work and well-being.  The letter stated that the canal could and would prevent the British if they invaded again from being able to cut off the flow of goods and services in the region.  The Governor went so far as to say, even the railroads would not be able to provide the needed support that only the Erie Canal could provide.

Nearly 180 years later, the canal written about is only a tourist destination.  The railroad spoken of in fear by the Governor, ironically in that century, connected the West Coast to the East Coast, but now is a shadow of its former self.  And today our superhighways made of concrete and asphalt like I-70 or Highway 83 connect cities and countries and allow each of us to travel at speeds that for the Governor, were reckless and dangerous.

What the Governor was fearful of and every generation from the beginning of time has been fearful of is change.  Whether the speed of travel to the control of our world, all of us fear change.  From the fear of change of jobs, the fear of the change of relationships, to the fear of the unknown that could change our reality.  Change is something that all of us fear and resist with every fiber of our being.
But as Christians we should not fear change.  Because change whether of seasons, positions, passions or potential is a necessary part of life.  When we live in fear, Satan uses our fear against us and wants us to fear, because Satan wants to control us and our eternal destination.  But God like a laser beam cuts through the fear of Satan and sets us free from the shackles of fear and the fear of change.

For from beneath the Cross of Jesus, that we began our worship singing, Jesus is calling us to take a stand.  And our stand is to change the paradigm of our world.  To be willing unlike the Governor of New York, to change.  Unlike the seasons, we have no control over, whether the heat of summer, the cold of winter, the rain for the crops or the wind that dries the ground, we do have the opportunity to change.

Will change come easily?  Not at all, but when we look at our lives and how and what God has done for all of mankind on the Cross of Calvary, we can resolve to change.  For God is calling us to change.  In God’s loving way, He is calling us to change.  God wants us to change and adapt in order that His message of the Gospel will continue to spread here in Goodland.

What does this mean?  Simply, God is calling us to change like the seasons and aid in the spread of His message of salvation for all of mankind, including you and me.  God’s message is timeless, just as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, each of us are here for this time, we have a purpose and each and every one of us are a part of God’s purpose.  We can change with the times, with the seasons and with the goal of eternity in mind.

There was once a riddle that was told, “What walks on all fours, then on two, then on three?”  Yes, the answer is “man”.  But the idea behind the riddle is that man does not stay the same, man changes over time.  We are constantly changing, from babies, to toddlers, youth to adults, then to just older youth.  Our lives change, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the offer of salvation made to and for each and every one of us, never changes.  What the Gospel can do is change us. 

Jarod Wilson said it so well, “Our job is to love people, not change them.”  Let’s love our world, our community and each of the members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, not because we have to, but because God first loved us.  For it is God’s love that can change us and we can share that love with one another today and every day we share God’s love with each other.  AMEN.

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