On Facebook, there is a bit of an uproar going on at the present time. Folks are up in arms about changes made to the front page and the application. There are new groups forming, chat rooms a tither, all lamenting the changes and the desire for it to "go back the way it was". I have to admit, the new structure is not as easy to navigate through, but I'm sure over time I will get used to it and be able to find the things that seemed to be easier to find in the "old" system. I am confident that these changes on Facebook weren't done malevolently, or to cause consternation, but to try and make the application better, more current and easier to make modifications to down the road.
But many of us don't like change. New rectors hear this all the time in church: don't change "that", don't move "this", "we never used to do it that way", "the former rector used to do it this way." In fact, the hullabalo about the changes on Facebook are nothing in comparison to trying to effectuate modifications in church-land. We as humans like consistency, even when it isn't working anymore. And that is one of the ironic things about church-land: we are called to be change-agents, but don't change "my" turf.
One of the over-riding messages we have been reading about in John's Gospel is change. A move from the old to the new that Jesus was trying to effectuate. Jesus after-all was the chief change-agent. Throughout Biblical history we see God trying to effectuate change and humans resisting it. We see it in Acts today with Barnabas and Paul being credited with being Zeus and Hermes: the people didn't want to hear about this "new" God, they wanted to stay with their old gods with whom they were familiar.
God is always bringing change to our world. God is always "doing something new" through agents that can be small, surprising. They are almost always resisted. Perhaps any change that is being screamed about should be examined closely by us to see if we can see God there. Perhaps we shouldn't expect that change will be willingly accepted or will make us feel comfortable. Perhaps God doesn't want us to be too comfortable.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.