There are changes happening at the church. You can see pictures of some of these changes above. When it comes to taking care of a property, we are always dealing with change - either the changes that come with time and the forces of weather, or the changes that we design, create, and encourage.
You can see in the picture on the left the changes that wind, rain, snow, and sun have begun in the walls of our building. Over the years, the elements have slowly been eating away at the bricks and mortar.
You can see in the picture on the right the changes that are happening in the flower beds and landscape of the church. Leaves are budding; flowers are blooming; life is growing all around. While we cannot control these changes, we can encourage them. Faithful members have planted trees and shrubs and flowers throughout the years, knowing that each spring we would be greeted with new life. Others have pulled weeds, watered, fed, and cared for these plants to ensure that we continue to see their beauty.
Life is change; it is all around us. We cannot stop life right where it is, just as it is, and keep it that way forever. We are all in the midst of change. We are changed by the elements around us. Sickness, divorce, job loss, death, distance from family, injury, war, and a million other things are the storms that beat against us, wearing us down until we crumble.
But the Good News is that there is other change, too. There is not only decay but also life. In Jesus Christ we find new life daily. He alone can change us from dying to living, from doubting to believing, from broken to whole, from outcast to insider. Over the next six weeks we will hear the stories of people who have been changed by Christ. We will see in their lives the life that Jesus alone gives.
What kind of change to you want? Because none of us can live unchanged. None of us can stop the hands of time. But we can choose the change we want. So what will it be? Do you want the storms of life, or do you want the change Jesus brings?
Wednesday at 10:00 am is one of my favorite times of the week. It’s Chapel Time with our Children’s Day Out kids. About 25 two-through-four-year-olds join me in the sanctuary. We sing “Jesus Loves Me.” And then it’s story time.
Each week I bring a small box, about the size of a shoe box, wrapped in elegant gold paper, filled with something to help me tell a story. Sometimes it’s a toy. Sometimes it paper cut-outs of Bible figures. Sometimes it’s a picture. But there is always something in the box. We shake the box and listen to the sounds coming out. We weigh the box to see if it is heavy or light. And then I ask, “What do you think is in the box?”
Last week when I asked the question I got the typical responses: toys! snacks! paper! pictures! Then one little one said with a huge smile, “A Jesus story!” That little guy had realized that every time he came into the sanctuary and saw Pastor Katie, he was going to hear a Jesus story.
Isn’t that what our witness is supposed to be? Doesn’t it just mean that we talk so excitedly, patiently, faithfully, constantly about our Lord that people know, as soon as they see us, we’re going to tell the Jesus story?
I have the feeling that is what happened with the apostles and the early church. Their friends and neighbors would see them coming and say, “I know what’s coming next – a Jesus story!” And because these men and women were faithful to tell the story, because they would not stop telling the story, the Good News spread. It spread to the Jews and to the Gentiles. It spread to the young and to the old. It spread to the rich and to the poor. It spread to the powerful and to the lowly.
The Good News was passed down from generation to generation, over the course of two thousand years, so that we, too, have heard the story. We, too, have believed the Good News. We, too, have been saved. And now we, too, are called to tell the Good News to others.
As we prepare for Easter at the end of this month, let us be a people of the Story. Let us be the ones who go out into the world and say, “Jesus died for you to save you from sin and death. Jesus was raised to new life and promises the same to you.” Let us tell the Jesus story of the cross and the empty tomb everywhere we go and to everyone we meet, that they, too, may believe.