Even when difficult, change brings new perspectives, fresh blessings
We can look forward to tomorrow knowing the God who brought us through yesterday's challenges will safely keep us today and in the future.
Special to The Seattle Times
The calendar says it is still summer, but there is a definite hint of fall in the air. Cool, crisp mornings that give way to sunny afternoons signal a seasonal change. Sweaters, down vests, jeans, and socks with sandals will once again be Seattle haute couture.
For many, the unofficial close of summer is Labor Day and the start of school. September brings back memories of new pencils, notebooks, backpacks and lunchboxes. When we embrace the new, we frequently have to say goodbye to what existed before. Saying hello to autumn colors means saying goodbye to long, warm summer days. Life is a series of comings and goings, yet letting go is easier said than done.
We become comfortable with tradition and old things, regardless of their usefulness. That favorite moth-eaten sweater has an honored place on the closet shelf. It is no longer wearable, but the memories of what used to be make it hard to toss.
We can hold on to relationships that no longer work for us because we are afraid to let go of the familiar even though it may be damaging our spirit.
We hold on to traditions when they no longer serve us. Augusta National Golf Club just recently admitted women members. Finally, sexist tradition and discrimination gave way to 21st-century common sense. We can only hope that Christian churches that have exclusively male clubs will soon follow suit. When we so tightly hold to the past, we hinder new energy from entering our world.
We are in the midst of a political season. Soon, political discourse will get nasty. Our mailboxes will be flooded with junk mail and we will receive a daily barrage of robocalls. By Nov. 6, we will have to individually discern which votes will move us forward and which will keep us stuck in yesteryear.
We cannot afford to go backward. Generations yet unborn are counting on us to leave this world better than when entered. We have to be more mindful of our environment. Yes, we can get along without plastic grocery bags and by riding bicycles and public transportation.
The topic of gun control has to be put back on the table without fear of repercussion from the National Rifle Association. We are in trouble when police forces are outgunned by thugs and when the mentally ill have access to firearms.
And hopefully, this state will finally see that family, love and marriage can be honored and enjoyed by opposite-sex and same-sex couples. Refusing to move forward out of fear or tradition will eventually haunt us all.
Seasons change, and nothing stays the same. The Rev. Samuel B. McKinney, pastor emeritus of Mount Zion Baptist Church, frequently reminded his congregation "to take change by the hand before it takes you by the throat." We can look forward to tomorrow knowing the God who brought us through yesterday's challenges will safely keep us today and in the future.
I am sad to see the days get shorter knowing eventually the sun will set just after 4 p.m., but I can hardly wait to see the autumn colors and to watch the splendor of nature in full array. As seasons change, we are offered a different perspective of nature, and perhaps a different perspective of God's grace.
In the hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness," Thomas Chisholm wrote:
... Morning by morning new mercies I see.
There is no need to desperately hold on to the past. God offers fresh blessings every day, in summer, winter, spring and fall. We have no choice about how fast the seasons turn. Like Maxwell, the GEICO insurance pig, we can just let go and enjoy the ride.
The Rev. Patricia L. Hunter is an associate in ministry at Mount Zion Baptist Church and senior benefits consultant for American Baptist Churches in the USA. Readers may send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.