Each morning we stand on the threshold of a new day with its possibilities for change. Some changes we celebrate. Others we mourn or regret. God is with us in each and every change.
Moses stood at a threshold of change as he gave his farewell address to the Hebrew people before sending them across the Jordan River into the land of promise. He led them for forty years, out of slavery in Egypt and through the wilderness pilgrimage. Yet, he could not go with them across the Jordan. At one hundred and twenty, he was on the threshold of death, and God gave the people a new leader, Joshua, for the new pilgrim journey. Change! At a very tough time.
Moses told the people that God would be with them as they encountered enemies in the new land. Don’t we often think of “change” as an enemy? I do…it can be jarring when I want to be comfortable, it can engender hard work when I think I am tired to the bone, it can stir up emotions I don’t want to feel. Yet change has also provided the threshold for the most life-giving events that have blessed me beyond measure. Not that I always recognize the blessings immediately. That can take a while.
Change also teaches me that I am not in control. I am not the Queen of the Universe that someone forgot to consult. (And would I really want all that responsibility anyway?!) I am a pilgrim on a journey through this life with the Holy One as my guide. I make choices, yes, however, my highest calling is to respond to the calling of God that may lead me into unknown territory, to thresholds that I did not expect.
As a congregation we have been called to face SO many changes over the last year. I know that has been exhausting and still is as we look for the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. We have also faced church staff changes. Three of our staff who were with us a year ago, Mark Lee, Mandy Hall and Yendra Tenzca, have answered God’s call to work and ministry in settings that may have surprised them as much as us. And now, we face another staff change with the departure of Carla Cain. I hope you join me in praying for Carla as she moves toward new ministry opportunities back in Iowa and give thanks for the many gifts in ministry that she gave Plymouth in her time here.
Our Leadership Council chose a theme for Plymouth this year that is telling, "Standing at the Threshold: The Pilgrim Journey Continues." Moses would have understood this theme when he addressed his people. I leave you with his words – adapted just a bit by me.
Be strong! Be fearless! Don't be afraid and don't be scared by your enemies, [by change], because the [Holy One] your God is the one who marches with you. He won't let you down, and [She] won't abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:6 from the Common English Bible).
With you on the journey,