“When you walk to the edge of all the light that you have
And take that first step into the darkness of the unknown
You must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon
Or you will be taught how to fly”
Patrick Overton, Ph.D.
Why take that step? Why not just turn around and go back the way we came. Live in what was certain, comfortable and in your full control. Remember the “good old days” when churches were full?
In 1967, my seven siblings and I were seated at the dinner table one night. Our father had an announcement to make. He was offered a job as a boarding school cottage parent for boys from the Bronx who were on their last stop before juvenile detention. He would make half the money he did building tin-feeder machines in a factory. We children could not possibly know what a complex decision that was nor the consequences of living with less but something in his expression and voice radiated an excitement we never saw when he usually came home from work. We encouraged Dad to take the job. We would deal with the loss of income. He quickly became a surrogate father to a few very troubled boys who became good men. Only now do I realize what a brave step that my father took (having no college or social work experience) – a step we got to take with him.
Are you familiar with the term “discontinuous change”? It refers to a type of change that may be subtle but irreversible. Here are just a few examples of discontinuous change facing the Church:
As the Church in the 21st Century we are coming close to the edge of much of the light we think we have. What worked for religious practice in the 20th Century back when the rotary dial phone was finally a fixture in most homes no longer inspires the two youngest adult generations. If we are to take that important step of faith into future forms of living Christian faith, we will need to remember why God has us moving in the first place. Knowing “Why?” will help us to recognize a faithful “How?”
God help us to help each other to remember why You called us to be the Church for all times and in all seasons. We ask this in the precious name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.