We Can Change and Grow Boldly
I recently attended the wedding of a dear friend, and in her bridal bouquet was this incredible assortment of wildflowers and ferns. It was colorful and organic and kind-of messy. The thing that caught my eye, though, was a long twisty green stem that spiraled out from the rest of the bouquet. When you looked at it closely, you could see that it was actually a root that the florist had turned upside down so that it was exposed and utilized in a way that roots normally are not!
I’ve been thinking about that little root as I reflect on where we are as a congregation today. We are in the midst of what feels like constant transition. Our staff continues to evolve. Our youth ministry focus is changing. We’re rethinking how we use our Phinney Houses for mission. I could go on.
I thank God that this congregation continues to hang on and do the hard work of ministry – not becoming complacent, but always engaging in thoughtful conversations and imaginative discernment. But I also recognize that change is hard, and if I’m being honest, I do sense a collective anxiety and weariness about all of this constant change.
Change is scary, not to mention often frustrating and exhausting. When something changes, it means letting go of the way it was, and there’s legitimate grief and fear in that. But it’s also how we know we are alive. No plant can remain the same if it wants to grow, and the same is true for the Church.
So I want to remind us of that root. Our root is Jesus, alive and exposed and right smack in the center of our messy ministry. Jesus always calls his disciples to leave some things behind; to take risks; to make hard choices. But he also begins by saying, “fear not,” and he promises to be with us.
Money, buildings, staff structures – thinking about these things naturally causes anxiety. But we must remember that these are not our roots. These are just the tools that we get to use for God’s mission. With Jesus at our center, we can withstand change and growth just fine. In fact, we can change and grow boldly, rooted in the grace and love of God. What a perfect time – in this long, green, liturgical season of growth – to rest in that promise.