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The Pain of Change, March 17, 2024

Jeremiah 31:27-34, John 12:20-36

Lent 5B

Theme:  Transformation


I remember as a child having the opportunity to travel by ship from New Orleans, USA to Matadi, Belgium Congo.  I was 5 years old and holding onto a deck rail on the port side of the freighter Del Aro.   

I watched the heavy thick shoring lines being cast off and the rumble of the ship’s engines as they began to turn the giant propellers.  Almost imperceptibly, the dock receded from below my feet. 

For me there was a sense of vertigo as, far below me, I could see a gap widening.  There the water churned as the propellers caused swirls of muddy frothy waves to form.  The gap widened between the ship and the wharf, and a logical part of my mind made me aware that instead of the dock receding away from me, I was moving away from it.  For a moment, my head swirled like the frothing water below me as my senses reoriented to a new reality.

Later, as an adult, I realized this is how we as humans perceive change.  Often, we first think the world around us is changing when it is actually we ourselves who are the ones transforming.  When we feel others are moving away from us, we often fail to realize it is us who are doing the moving.

Well, everything is moving, but we fail to realize we ourselves are also moving.

When we finally realize what is happening, we often experience disorientation resulting in a type of vertigo.  When this happens, we become afraid.

According to the writer of the gospel of John, even Jesus experienced this as he became aware of how his life was eventually going to end.  Being of unusual intelligence, Jesus is described as being able to decern the way his teachings were leading him on a collision course with the influential leaders of his day.  His cousin had already met that end.

Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say— ‘Father, save me from this hour?' No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28)

Change is not always as dramatic as what Jesus experienced, but it is always the death of our comfort zone.  Change forces us to new frontiers of existence where our future is pregnant with infinite possibilities.  God has said, “I will glorify it.”

Join us at First Christian Church, Warrensburg, Missouri where we will call upon our loving God to lead us forward through the changes we will inevitably face.


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