Technically, March 20 was the first day of Spring. While the weather might not reflect the calendar, most of us are probably willing to take it by faith that Spring is finally here. We’re ready for some sunshine and warmer weather and some color other than white. Believe it or not, we’re ready for a change.
As much as many people dislike the idea of “change,” a winter like the one we’ve had this year easily prompts us to seek a change. That’s the nature of change; we find comfort in the familiarity of “the way things are,” until they become uncomfortable—then we actively seek a change. Dr. Henry Cloud, a well-known Christian psychologist and author, once wrote: “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.”
A winter of extraordinary cold and unusually frequent snow and ice storms certainly creates enough pain to desire a change in seasons. A season of extended transitions and uncertainty can also create enough pain to desire a change. While Spring brings new life through green grass, fragrant flowers, and budding leaves, we can also find new life in the church. In fact, new life is the core of our message.
Jesus said in John 10:10 that he came to bring abundant life. When we become Christians, as Paul writes in Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” We are all about new life, both in what we receive through Jesus and in what we share with the world.
New life is not possible without change; in fact, the change of new life is the most dramatic change we will ever face. It’s the change from death to life. Paul wrote about our baptism into Jesus’ death so that we might be raised to new life, just as Jesus was raised. Jesus said something similar in John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Even though Jesus was referring to his own death, we know that our change is similar.
We can’t forget that we are called to a similar death, burial, and resurrection when we are baptized. Not only do we experience new life through Jesus, but so do many others. This kind of change is exciting. While we often focus on how Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection brings “me” new life, this new life is meant to be shared. That means that seeds are always going to be planted; that means that there are going to be “old things” that will pass away so that new life can grow. That means there will always be change. Let’s pray that it produces many seeds and that God will make them grow.