You cut openings for springs and torrents; you dried up ever-flowing streams. Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminaries and the sun. You have fixed all the bounds of the earth; you made summer and winter. PS 74:15-17, NRSV
In time of change, keep close to the things that stay the same.
Jesus said, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (MT 28:20). Familiar words! However, sometimes it’s easier to remember them in the context of eternal things than every moment, each day. This is a good time to recall.
Perhaps this is a time to consider the changes that everyone knows about, here in the late summer. Summertime brings a special, additional reminder of God’s providence and generosity in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden or green market. A perfect peach or cooling watermelon seems to hold a hint of God’s bounty. And then the heat of summer and cycle of seasons take the fruit, even more quickly than it arrived. Spring into summer into fall; peaches to tomatoes to okra. Nature works in seasons; or perhaps things we treasure are ones that thrive in this seasonal world.
God’s unchanging providential hand guides everything through changes, month to month, spring to fall, age to age. But recently, occasions of uncertainty have multiplied. They bring worry, sorrow, even desperation. Possibly worse, they aren’t predictable, even while they’re happening. Change is necessary, and often welcome and good, but recently we’ve experienced a lot of the other kind.
Amid the changes, the ones that we can predict and the ones that are new, this is the time to remember what never changes. This is the moment to remember and to rely on Jesus’s unchanging presence in life. It’s also a moment to remember that God’s presence in each day does not mean that the day will be like the one before, or the one after. God works in seasons, as do all of God’s creatures.
This is a season of trouble and worry and grief. All of humankind deals with changes that are new, unwelcome, and frightening. Not like the hot, dry summer; not even like the occasional hurricane. This is new. New enough to invite all of humankind into partnership with each other and with God’s wisdom to bring about more change: change that will move us together towards restored health and renewed prosperity. With God’s help.
And so, let us pray, Gracious God, we offer thanks for all blessings of life, for those things that change from season to season, and for your love and assurance, which never changes. You are with us in warm days and cold, in darkness and in light. As we move from day to day through this troublesome season, keep us in accordance with your will, in peace with our brothers and sisters, and always with the certain knowledge of the protection of your loving hand. Through Christ, Our Lord and Our Protector. Amen.
Father Frank Fuller
St. Paul’s, Winnfield