Everything would be so much simpler if things did not change so much. Even those who cling to the status quo discover that changes can always intrude. Consider Adam and Eve who found themselves evicted and burdened with the problems that all the world has come to know. Consider Isaac who had one son disinherited while the other fled for his life for stealing the family treasure from his brother. Consider Job who lost everything in spite of his assurance that he had done his best as a servant of God. Consider David who was a triumphant hero, and then fell victim of his own weakness bringing on the judgment of God.
Then there is Jesus, the Son of God, who meets every task given to Him and finds himself pleading that the ‘cup” be removed from him. And He was saddened by the treachery of Judas, and the disloyalty of Peter. Consider Mary who lost a son in a horrible way, only to find Him three days later. Consider Paul who was an amazing missionary after his change on the Damascus road but died in a Roman prison. And note all of those over the centuries who died for their faith,
You remember Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. whose lives were changed in an instant. Remember Lucille Daniel Clarke, my grandmother, who taught Japanese women and won them to Christ, who labored to begin a school for girls in Japan that they might become learned and be brought to faith in Christ, whose plan was subverted by religious politics and someone else was given credit for her faith and diligence
We are aware of a group of people who built a church at Fifth and Hawthorn, and the changes that have occurred in the passing years. Remember where this church was three years ago and the changes in the intervening years, some of them hard to endure while others have brought us to a new sense of who we are. In the last 32 years, people have come and gone, grown up and moved on, lost mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and children, and others have seen a marriage crumble and jobs lost.
Why then, in the waning years of my own life, do I see such promise and hope in this fellowship called St. John’s. I have had many turns in my life, and I am sure that they have strengthened me for the way ahead. God is in the changes as he is in the calm times. And so we not only survive the years, we find joy in them. May we find joy in every circumstance of life with Your help, O God. Amen.