Each year in September,
I am reminded of some song lyrics I love about seasons and who God is:
Even when the trees have just surrendered to the harvest time,
Forfeiting their leaves in late September and sending us inside,
Still I notice You when change begins,
And I am braced for colder winds.
I will offer thanks for what has been and what’s to come,
You are autumn.
Click here for full song lyrics.
Understanding that God is change – that’s an interesting way to approach our relationship to God. The word-picture here in this song is of a God who is ever-changing yet always the same. What does that mean for us as God’s children trying to practice our faith together today?
The reality of religion is that we are preserving an ancient faith, so change often doesn’t come easy for us in the institution of church. We are often bogged down with keeping up our routines and fail to notice the Holy Spirit at work around us doing things a little differently than the “way we’ve always done it.”
I do think the rituals that set us apart are meaningful and important – we take communion, we celebrate the seasons of the church year, we cherish times of prayer and communal introspection, we baptize and marry and bury our faith family members. Changes in how we approach our life of faith need not do away with such deep traditions as these.
But change has to happen in some ways in the life of communal faith, and God’s Spirit is leading the charge. We just need to pay attention.
God’s Spirit at work keeps our earthly attempts at being God’s children in check. If we are listening in prayer, the Spirit opens us to new ideas through putting us in contact with the mind of God. God’s Spirit also helps us see the world through a new lens – we see as God sees, which might change our perspective quite a bit. And God’s Spirit makes overcoming the struggles of this world possible.
God doesn’t want us to remain stagnant; God wants us to be as lively and transforming as the Holy Spirit that lives in and through us. And when we live into that holiness, we can see that nothing can hold us back from the joys that await us on the other side of transformative change.
Change will still be difficult from time to time, but if we are holding on to God’s Spirit, we are letting go of our hang-ups and becoming more content with how this life of faith will unfold – changes and all.
I am excited to see what the Spirit will do among us in this new day for First Baptist Church of Martinsville. I’m holding God’s Spirit close with you as we step out in faith. May this new season of autumn remind us that change is good.