Never fear. This is not a treatise on the merits of creationism or evolution. Rather, it is taking a Charles Darwin quote and using it as a catalyst for looking at change in the church and the gift of thanksgiving that is ours to harness and keep in the forefront as we, God’s people, can – and should – face that change head on in order to survive.
In today’s world, and in an especially diverse country such as ours, change is inevitable. Communication and the media keep us posted 24/7 on what’s happening within and beyond our borders. We witness others within and outside our borders handling change. In some places, the outcome has been unnerving, even deadly. In others, there has been success in spite of the odds.
But no matter the outcome, adapting to change has it risks. I might have to give up something in order to make room for something or someone else. I might need to step forward and be someone who helps others wade through and make sense of the inevitable. Maybe I am called to be the one who raises a voice on behalf of those seeking change.
Change is caused by people. It can also be beaten down by people. The challenge is to be able to bring all voices to the table and hammer out the next move or moves in a spirit of love, peace, patience, anticipation, and support – and most of all, to truly listen to one another.
The church in the United States is at a crossroads. This is especially true for mainline denominations, such as ours (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). How can we, Christ the King Congregation, in our speck-of-dust, little corner of the world meet the change that has already come and will continue coming to our world?
With the observance of Thanksgiving on our doorstep, one obvious answer is to embrace that gift of thanksgiving and to look at the amazing people we are.
Give thanks for:
- Being able to worship, pray, and play together in spite of our differences. Not all of God’s people can boast such a gift.
- Our commitment to great music and meaningful worship, filled with variety and seeking to speak to all who enter our doors.
- A pastor whose faith, humor, care, adaptability, genuineness, energy, and loving nudges, is helping us moving us forward.
- Children and young families who are urging us to push the envelope in how we think about the many facets of congregational life.
- Senior members, whose experience and wisdom is valued.
- Our commitment to pastoral care and to helping those in need.
- The people and pastors who have been a part of this congregation throughout the years and the solid foundation they’ve helped lay for the future.
- God’s greatness in saying: “People of Christ the King, Gladwin, Michigan, I am not done with you yet!”
If we meld together our faith, fellowship, and thankfulness, then add the risks brought on my facing and adapting to change and becoming part of that change, imagine – to paraphrase Dr. Seuss – “the places we can go”!