Nothing stays the same for long. That statement is as honest as it is brief.
Life is always in motion – never sitting still, ever changing – and the best response we can give is to pledge we will stay alive to God’s ever-moving accompanying presence as our fellow traveler through life.
Years ago, futurist Alvin Toffler splashed onto the scene with his groundbreaking book, “Future Shock.”
The book was such a cultural phenomenon that the title was adopted in modern usage as a description that the phenomenon of change was noticeably accelerating.
Toffler contended that the rate of acceleration was increasing slowly, almost imperceptibly.
He compared it to the merry-go-round in a horror movie that goes faster and faster until fear is reached as those riding it move from pleasure to heightened fun to sheer terror as some unseen force of evil has put them on the ride from hell.
I believe Toffler was right, and his interpretation of culture and life itself has ratcheted to the point where we’re dizzyingly frazzled.
We arrive home at night rubbed raw from the pace of the day. We face an overwhelming load of daily tasks as we encounter the demands of work and then return home to parent, cook and clean while trying desperately to maintain meaningful relationships.
We drop into bed in the evening so tired we can’t sleep so we medicate ourselves. We start over the next morning and spin through the day at breakneck speed.
There is a truth we must recognize: Anxiety is the price we pay for our resistance to the reality of change that is always in motion.
The antidote is to seek a moment to catch our breath, seek stillness and restorative quiet. But stillness is elusive and we cannot stop the world that is constantly changing.
Movement is always occurring and because of that nothing stays the same, except this constant observation that change is always happening. One response we can give is to accept change as the gift of opportunity that we might grow.
Change means we must stay alive to possibility, using our creativity and ingenuity to adapt.
It also means we might gain something we did not anticipate, but this requires we release our stranglehold on how things are in order for the new to come.
No doubt the world of faith and the community we call church are as sure to change as the world of technology, banking, politics or education.
The God of the past, present and future are all the same God, wanting us to be fully alive as we travel this journey through life.
We are stewards of the faith and the church, and we must step lively as we travel. Here are a few suggestions that will contribute to a healthy church and a vibrant faith.
If you will do these things, they will help ensure that your church will be energetic and alive and your faith will be an imaginative act of living the faith-life.
- Make sure you’re a part of a worshipping community.
Be present in worship to experience the communal faith of singing, hearing the word of God and participating fully in the life of your church.
- Be a part of a small group.
Gather with other believers to read and study the Bible and to honestly share the life of faith together.
- Give yourself passionately to a personal ministry.
Poet and essayist Wendell Berry suggests, “Find something that needs doing, and do it.” What is of concern to you that you are uniquely interested in? What need in the world would you give yourself happily to?
These three activities will bring life and energy to your relationship to God and will contribute to a bigger life for your church.
In short, these three things will bring happiness and purpose to your life.
Keith Herron is pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., and a member of the board of directors for the Baptist Center for Ethics. A version of this article first appeared on Holmeswood’s blog and is used with permission. His sermons appear on EthicsDaily.com.
After serving as bridge pastor at First Congregational Church of St. Louis, Missouri, during the past year, Herron moved recently to Lawrence, Kansas, where he will continue to minister in interim settings. He is author of Living a Narrative Life, Exploring the Power of Stories (Smyth & Helwys, 2019).