See, I am making all things new...I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
from Revelation 21.5-6
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ;
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...it was the season of Light, it was the sea- son of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
Those are the opening words to A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickinson’s best known work that does not include any references to yuletide ghosts or “Bah, humbug.” While it was set during the French Revolution, it could also describe how many people think of the world around us today. We live in a time of major transitions – political, social, economic, techno- logical – just to name a few. The world seems to be changing at breakneck speed. Even among the young, life today is significantly different from what we may remember just a few years ago.
Chances are we have different attitudes about the transition we experience. Some we would consider positive – even essential. We recognize that they improve the world around us. For example, advancements in health care can add to the quality and longevity of our lives. And it would be a sacrifice for many of us to go back to a time before cell phones or microwaves.
Other transitions, however, may be rather disquieting; especially in a time when it seems that we may be retreating from the principles of justice and opportunity that has helped define us as a society. Times like these challenge us to look at the world around us, or even ourselves, a bit differently. We find comfort in that which is familiar and expected. When something happens to disrupt what we expect, we find it uncomfortable and perhaps wish for the “good old days” when life seemed more familiar and predictable.
But the Jesus Movement has always been about transition. God did not bring us a Messiah in order for us to remain the same, but that we, and the world around us, might be transformed through the love and justice of the Good News. We are Christians because God has intervened to bring hope and New Life to us and our neighbors.
Change is not always easy, even for the church as we seek to make the Good News relevant in a new age. But God is always there to guide us through the transitions of life and remind us of what is truly important, and truly constant; that the grace and truth made real in Jesus Christ is always a part of life, filling us with hope and possibility.