Monday, 10 November 2014

People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change

In order to grow, to become, we have to be part of a change process. In order to grow, we sometimes need to get rid of old memories, old habits and at times even well loved traditions. Having made space, being freed from past burdens, can we take part of a fresh presence. After all, following the thinking of Albert Einstein; "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them."

What is the best news you can imagine? What is your . . . "If only . . . " hope and dream? Is it becoming rich and powerful? Perhaps it would be the job you always wanted? Maybe your spouse would suddenly change and become the person you thought he would be? Perhaps it is you child who has gone astray? What would be your best news? But remember, solving our problems with the same thinking that created them is an impossibility. We need new thinking, a hope that is not born out of the only life we know.

Perhaps, we need to ask the question in another way. What was your reason for getting up this morning, or going to work? What moves and motivates you through the days and weeks and month and years of life? What is so worthwhile that you are willing to give it your time, talents ad energy? What is so significant that you turn your whole life upside down to achieve it? What is so significant that makes everything worthwhile? 

These and similar questions have nothing to do with fantasies, dreams, or unrealistic expectations. These questions are based on historical facts and present realities around one person . . . Jesus Christ. I believe, his life penetrates the harshest human reality with life-altering hope because he is from above.

But to "get" the need for a new thinking we need to understand the whole story from the beginning . . . God created the heavens and the earth. The environment was lush and rich, there were no unfed stomachs or diseases to be feared, no unhealthy competition or power struggle, no discrimination or fear, no sexual exploitation or lust and self-worship. There was love, and trust. There was no struggle with addiction, anxiety, mixed motives, there was no painful history to be feared. Even God, in the cool of the day walk among the people, his creation and they knew him and he knew them. Life was as it was intended to be, better than we can ever imagine or dream of from our sin-scarred presence. Yet, this all changed in an instant. Sin had entered, and fear, guilt, shame and deflection of responsibility became standard human expressions in life. Creation, once in perfect harmony now groans under the weight of the curse. All the amazing beauty is now deeply scarred, but not permanently. Although sin altered every thought, desire, word and even hope, and although sin lead to a world of double-mindedness and self-worship there is a hope out of this world. Though we live in a world where people lie, cheat, hide and deny, where people suffer from the hands of others, from unspeakable acts of violence to momentary thoughtlessness, from intentional indifference to unintentional ignorance there is hope.

God was unwilling to stay it that way in the garden, and though he pronounced judgement he also pronounced hope. And while it looks as if nothing has changed since the prayer on the cross; "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing," Those of us who lived without the hope of the gospel for a time, know that to be false. I changed . . . for the better; I am changing for the better and I am in need of ongoing change. But change does not come without outside influence . . . we need one another, we are being given to one another for that reason because we are people in need of change while helping people in need of change. People of hope helping people without hope not because they have it altogether but because they have something worth getting up for in the morning.

Mark records this hope in the first chapter as found in Jesus' words; "The time has come, The kingdom of God is near. Repent [change] and believe [new thinking] the Good News." These few words are the beginning of our hope . . . and it calls for change.

In our self-absorbed culture in which we have grown up, and which morals and values have informed us in the past, we need each other to see the grandeur of these words; "The time has come, . . ." echoed once again on the cross; "It is fulfilled." We need to be careful that we do not fall into the same temptation as Adam and Eve and shrink God's promise to our needs and desires and thinking. Jesus did not come and die and rose to make our agenda possible, to make our dreams come true, but to draw us into something more amazing, something not of this world.

So, don't be afraid of change. You may loose something good, but you will gain something better.

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