Pastor’s Article – July 2017

She was perceptive. At 95 year old she had seen a lot through her years. As we talked about family and health she paused, looked at me, and said, “Life is moving faster than what it use to.”

I was caught off guard by her comment.

She told me that life was faster than just a few years ago and that she “felt” it when she went from the nursing home. I knew she was right. I’ve felt it too. I’ve seen life speed up as well. Perhaps you’ve noticed the same thing. Life keeps moving faster and faster.

I wonder if life seems faster because we have more ‘options’. My daughter loves Dragon Fruit, something I didn’t even know existed. Walk into a Wendy’s or AMC and take a look at the Coke Freestyle machine giving you over 100 different combinations. Entertainment options have increased from three main TV stations to hundreds of cable channels along with on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and many niche offerings as well. Kid’s sporting programs and activities have proliferated. Families find their weekends filled with games, practices, recitals, and travel. Options for music, books, and news sources have all increased and the list continues to grow. Options grow and life gets faster.

While our options have increased so have our job demands. Many companies have downsized and expect employees to have the same output with a depleted workforce meaning individuals have to take on more work. Some workers take work home with them and even on vacation. Yes, life has gotten faster.

“Dorothy Moments” are those moments when we realize things aren’t like they use to be. Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, realized she wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Our “Dorothy Moments” are when we realize life will never be the same. When the 95 year old woman said, “Life is getting faster” what she was saying was…”We aren’t in Kansas anymore.” She is right.

What use to work doesn’t work anymore. What we use to be able to count on, we can’t count on anymore. It’s true in our families and jobs, and it’s true for our church.

We have a couple of ways to view our new reality. We can become frustrating wishing that things were how they used to be and try to go back to “better days.” Some spend their time trying to recapture the past, but many times recapturing the past only works temporarily, if at all. We might wish for the “Good Ole Days” but deep down we know that those days are gone.

Another option is to lean into our new reality celebrating and embracing new opportunities.

Leaning into the future means we have to keep our eyes and ears wide open. We keep our eyes open to see opportunities that have never existed before. As we see these new discoveries we keep our ears open to the voice of God’s Spirit speaking deep within our hearts. God will lead us into and through the world of “Oz”, this strange and amazing place where we find ourselves.

Before Jesus was crucified, he told his disciples to not let their hearts be troubled. Maybe he knew, with him out of the picture, the disciples would be afraid and they would want to go back to how things were before he died. Peter did exactly that! After Jesus was crucified and resurrected Peter looked around and said, “I’m going fishing. (John 21:3)” Fishing is what Peter knew. Peter returned to what he knew.

Going back to what we know will always be our tendency and temptation. We are comfortable with the way things use to be. Looking forward to an unknown and uncertain future makes us apprehensive, nervous, and fearful. We want to go back. God, however, moves forward to better days.

Jesus knows our tendencies. Before he was crucified, Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission to make disciples (which, by the way, meant they would go places they had never gone before and do things they had never done before). In that commission, he told them to remember that he would be with them always even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). As we move forward, we must remember, we don’t go alone.

Life is faster now. We aren’t in Kansas and things aren’t the way they use to be. We may not be comfortable and we may want to go back to the “good ole days” but God keeps moving forward giving us new opportunities to reach people with his love, grace, and peace. We are called to move forward with God to the “Good New Days”.

Our God does not live in the past. God lives in our present moving us forward into new opportunities and new possibilities. As we seek to faithfully follow him, we do so with open eyes and open ears leading us to open hearts.