In the premiere episode of the Vicar of Dibley, Jim, Owen and Leticia are talking about change. For the first time ever, a female vicar had been sent to the village. It was a change that none of them had expected. But was it a good change? The three residents agree that there is good change and bad change. Good changes included things like traffic lights, the changing of the guard, were good things but if gravity ever changed that would be chaos and prawn flavoured crisps were an absolute disaster. They decided to give a vicar a chance to prove herself before deciding if a female vicar was a good thing or a bad thing.
Sometimes change is seen as a needless thing. For instance between my home town of Moose Jaw and the provincial capital of Regina, a distance of 65 kms, there is only one, slight curve in the road. With only the flat prairie landscape between the two cities, there was no reason to put curves in the road. But for some reason the builders of the highway wanted to be on the northside of the railway for part of the trip, the other half of the journey had the highway on the southside of the railway. So the Belle Plaine curve was put in the highway whether it was needed or not.
Sometimes change is seen as a welcome thing. In Australia, I look forward to that time in the spring when the jacaranda's bloom. In Canada, I appreciated how the dead earth came back to life each year as winter faded away. And Benjamin Franklin remarked that politicians and babies needed to be changed often and for the same reason.
Sometimes we fear change. Can we keep up with change? Will we miss the old ways of doing things? Will the change be like the changing of the guards (a good thing) or like prawn flavoured crisps (a bad thing)? And how will we cope with the change?
I write this reflection as we are on the verge of a new church year. For some it is merely we move from focussing on the gospel of Mark to the gospel of Luke. It also means that we move from stories of Jesus and the end of his ministry to preparing for Christ's birth. In someways it is not change- we hear the familiar stories that we have heard for so many years. Yet are we prepared, as we listen to these familiar stories, to be changed by them. Are we prepared for the stories to speak to us anew? Blessings