Sunday, September 17, 2017

How Unchanging is Change? by Susan Harris

Five days from today the seasons will officially change as summer gives way to autumn. From heat to coolness. From green to red and yellow. 
Seasons change in the Town of Wolseley, SK.
Photo credits Helen Gwilliam.

We've touted the cliché: the most constant thing is change. Some change we like, others we  don’t like.

Without fail change happens. Fads come and go. Cycles heave and fall. We follow change like an audience entranced by a skilled belly dancer undulating with fluidity and grace,  appreciating it until we are asked to take the stage. 

We’ve declared  God is the same. He changes not. "Faithful One so Unchanging" one song hauntingly intones.  Age to age still the same. The standard in spite of what culture or laws demand.

Yet we buckle under change, wrestling with the new, taken by surprise, shaken by the expected unexpected.

I contemplate again if this is how it should be. If God is unchanging, where does change fit?

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 lists fourteen pairs of antitheses, all of them changes destined to occur while we're alive. The first pair scopes our boundaries - birth and death. The rest fall in as we live: plant and uproot…  tear down and build … weep and laugh… scatter and gather…. search and give up…  silent and speak… love and hate… war and peace. These are changes predicted and foretold.
(See how day changes to night at our place in this 18 seconds clip)

Fisherman John's background lay in mending nets, assessing surging tides, and counting fishes for customers.  He had no inference of a digital age. Yet the number he identifies in a vision has produced debates arguably unequalled for any other digit combination.

Theologians, numerologists, and coffee drinkers alike have weighed in on what this means and in whose era it will escalate.  

Technology employs numbers second only to Math. Passwords- re-enter password. Numbers in drivers licenses, in passports and payment cards. In sports teams and waiting rooms. Everywhere.  Numbers abound as abundant as species of plants, an essential evil to the aging population, an enticement to the texting generation.

Unchanging Coniferous Trees.
Photo credit Helen Gwilliam 
And in it I look for the unchanging. Could it be that it lies not in a single event that interrupt the lullaby of our days, creeping them into nights which cajoles into seasons and blends into years? Is it adrift in the spectrum that the Faithful One has gathered between the span of thumb and finger?  The same finger that wrote on the sand while accusers slouched away unnoticed?

I look and I find what I have long known but not realized. My head and my heart move close and shake hands on common ground. The Unchanging One has announced it will happen. All the things I think of as change, He said I should expect them. All the polar opposites in Ecclesiastes. 

And if I have been told to expect them, I cannot claim to be surprised, for to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

SUSAN HARRIS is a product of change. Like a chameleon she adapted from the beachside to the prairies, from corporations to home office. She is the author of 12 books.  


Glynis said...

Ah yes, Susan. Change. Unarguable. There.

But if there is one thing I am taking from your post is that our loving and Holy God is unchanging and for that we have hope and are grateful!

I like this: <> How very true!

Peter Black said...

Thank you, Susan. You bore me along in the colourful language and rhythm of this piece. Our need to change with the Unchangeable is a theme I've spoken on and returned to from time to time over the years. You've certainly experienced a great deal of change in your life's journey this far. What a comfort to know that the unchangeable One "will never leave [us] nor forsake [us] . . ." (Heb. 13:5-6). ~~+~~

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