Change is inevitable. We see that come to life in 2 Samuel today.
David is anointed king in the town of Hebron where he and his two wives reside. (As a side note, I always get a chuckle when folks these days declare they believe in “biblical marriage.” My response is often, “What…polygamy???” David, the greatest of the kings, had two wives. We won’t even talk about how many Solomon had.) In the midst of change, David smooths things over by blessing those loyal and who buried Saul. Despite this, Abner, Saul’s uncle and chief military officer, sets up a false government up North, and anoints Saul’s son, Ishbaal, as king over Israel, the Northern Kingdom.
Chaos and conflict ensues.
Often in our biblical stories there are dramatic shifts of outlook. Perspectives change. Leadership changes. And yet permeating the stories is one common thread: despite the chaos, God’s purposes are being realized. It all reminds me of the many changes in church leadership that has occurred over time, from popes to the Reformation and folks like Calvin and Luther. Individual churches go through pastoral changes, some of them tumultuous, and yet God’s Spirit continues.
Over time, the Church has exhibited amazing fluidity and flexibility. It is organic and freely structured, despite the Roman Catholic’s assertion it is not. I see churches pop up everywhere, nearly every day. And as we witness the age of the death of many mega-churches, which were so strong just 10 years ago, I have to say that the church will survive this chapter too.
Today’s renaissance is people coming back to their roots. There are numerous Presbyterian churches experiencing just this.
I’m sure you have heard someone say: “If only things were the way they used to be!” I never know quite what that means. As I look back on the last 100 years, I see only change. The world is always in flux, but especially in the 20th Century. Often what those folks mean, it turns out, is that they want things back the way when THEY were children, and children have a way at looking at things with rose-colored glasses.
It turns out, the only thing we can count on is change. And our scriptures for today remind us that despite changes in human leadership (such as our very chaotic turnstile White House these days), our divine leadership remains constant. In our world of flux, we have one constant in our life, and that is the steadfastness and faithfulness of God. That will never change. That needs to be our focus, amidst a sea of change and doubt.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit!
P. S. I would be remiss if I did not mention today was also the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Check him out: Ignatius of Loyola Without Ignatius, I would not be writing these Morning Reflections today, and I owe him a heap of gratitude. We also wouldn’t have the Jesuits and their amazing commitment to education. Thanks Ignatius!