An important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way. Merrim-Webster.Com - 30 Jan. 2021
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” -Mary Shelley Frankenstein
It’s February 2021 and it already feels like we are still on a rollercoaster we labeled 2020. January was an eventful month nationally and locally. I won’t go through what happened, but let’s just agree it was a whirlwind.
What are we to do in these rapidly changing times? I don’t know; but I do know that there is a lot of hurt in the world right now. There have been a lot of Paradigm shifts going on. What’s painful about a Paradigm shift is that it often requires us to leave behind long held beliefs or beliefs we fervently cling to. This can be a difficult and painful process. Often, the choice is to hold on to those beliefs despite what the facts are telling us. It is easier to claim that the world/nation has things wrong, not me. For a Christian, this thinking can be dangerous.
Christ came into our world to shatter paradigms. He was a radical. He expounded on the ideals of love, forgiveness, grace and peace. His teachings directly challenged the eye for an eye thinking that was prevalent for the day.
Do not forget that Christ was kind in his radicalism. He often spoke the truth to others but allowed others to make up their own mind. I think the parables he told was his gentle approach to help us to understand and change our paradigms in a peaceful manner. Nowhere in the Bible did Christ chastise or berate someone to believe a certain way. He was gentle in his rebuke and accepted the fact that there were some who did not want to change.
That is our challenge for today. We need to be understanding and accepting to others who are going through pain because of changing paradigms. These individuals are hurting; and we can show Christ’s love to those persons. We can also show Christ’s love to those who refuse to change their paradigms as well. Christ’s love did not come with an “I told you so.”
Which brings me to this other part of this blog. I am a part of the envisioning group who are tasked to examine our church and mission and help the congregation find the path He wants us on. We have an APNC working on the task of establishing what our mission is and creating a mission statement. A large part of this work will entail looking at paradigms and long held traditions to see if they are still in line with our church’s mission. This can be a painful process.
The pain comes from the acknowledgment that we are not what we used to be. There are practices and programs that might not be right for our Church anymore. There is a chance during this process that we might have to say goodbye to a beloved program, group or mission. Let us face this challenge with the knowledge that all things are possible in Christ. That it is His will that we have pledged to follow. We also must support and love one another during this time of change within First Presbyterian. Let’s admit, after this past year of craziness, there is going to be a new normal.
Change can be hard, scary and painful. Christ is with us and loves us and will guide us. We just have to be willing to let go of our paradigms. If we do, Christ will lead us into unimaginable areas of mission and worship.