Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see.
O thou who changest not, abide with me.
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes.
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Verses 2 & 5 of “Abide with Me,” from Lutheran Hymnary
In a world that’s constantly changing, in flux, transforming or redesigning itself, isn’t it good to know that we have a God that never changes? This week I’ve been talking about change – which seems to be in the news again. We need change to progress – to get better – to straighten out the kinks and clear the garbage out of the way. We must be open to change for the better of our communities, our churches, our homes. We must be willing to make change when we see improprieties in legalities which seem immovable.
This week in MInneapolis, we’ve again seen an act of violence carried out by a police officer as another police officer is on trial for a similar crime. Those who have sworn to uphold the law are facing charges of defying that very law. I will make no statement regarding my feelings about either of these events – for when I do, I’m often misinterpreted. What I will say is that there comes a time when change is necessary for the good of the whole of civilization. It will not be accomplished through more violence. It will not be won through looting or burning down businesses that are just beginning to recover from a pandemic and remnants of rebuilding from the violence of last year. It will not be determined by politicians who want to be re-elected. We’re often told that this is the only way that the voices can be heard. Even then, the voices are muffled by unhearing ears on both sides of the fence.
There is a way in which understanding can be achieved. The laws of our country were set up for the purpose of protecting all people from harm, danger, death, and loss. This includes people of all colors. It was also established as a way of creating order out of a chaotic system of lawlessness, which began a long time ago when our country was just a new nation. It was a time when people were afraid to walk the streets for fear of being shot at or mugged. Sound familiar?
We’ve spent the last year living in isolation from each other. In that year, we are still experiencing laws being broken. We’re under daily curfews. We still see inhumanity and injustice. We still hear the loud voices of discontent, but those voices often close their own ears from listening to the other side.
For those of us who have hope in God’s promise for eternity, we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that a better place lies beyond this. Too bad we have to die to experience that. But we don’t have to wait. We have a God who is consistent. He never will change and we can count on that. Today, make the world better by having real conversations with your fellow man. Conversation is not all about talking. It’s also about listening. Everyone tends to say things without thinking when they feel abused, wronged or angry. Take a breath. Look at the entire picture and then come together and debate the issues sensibly. When we take God into that conversation, we are opening doors that we never even knew existed. We must trust in His almighty wisdom, for He is the One we’re all accountable to.