- Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.
- Isaiah 43.18-21 (The Message)
“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’
- John 16.12-15 (The Message)
On Sunday our worship will take its cue from the classic stage musical Fiddler on the Roof; and specifically the song Sunrise, Sunset. In its immediate context, the song is set at the wedding of Tevye’s daughter, Tzeitel, to Motel the tailor. Gazing teary eyed at the couple standing beneath the traditional canopy, pledging themselves one to another, the parents can’t help but wonder how things had come to this. Only yesterday these two were children, running through the fields laughing and playing, with not a care in the world. Now, here they were, adults, preparing to leave home and make a life for themselves. Life was changing, and they all found themselves up against this reality.
In the context of the musical as a whole, this scene gives expression to the concern that dominates throughout; how to remain faithful to a traditional lifestyle in the face of a rapidly changing world that will impact their lives. The change will come; their only choice is how they will respond to it.
It occurs to me that this is true in the life of the church as well. We often resist change, preferring to stay loyal to our traditional ways of doing things. This attitude may be comfortable, it may be safe; but is it the attitude God expects of us? That’s the question on which we will reflect this Sunday; how should God’s church respond to the need for change? Otherwise stated, must God always drag us kicking and screaming into the future?
I hope you will join us for worship on Sunday.