|On her father’s 75th birthday, folk singer Cheryl Wheeler was pondering all the changes her Dad had seen in his lifetime. From her reflections came a song which has this chorus: |
Now the fields are all four lanes,
And the moon’s not just a name.
Are you more amazed
At how things change,
Or how they stay the same?
And do you sit here on this porch
And wonder how the time flies by,
Or does it seem to barely creep along
With 75 Septembers come and gone?
I’ve been doing a lot of pondering myself of late. The death of my father has me thinking about how things change and how things stay the same, about the days when time seems to barely creep along, and the others — much more frequent now — which fly by like a summer breeze.
Some things do change, and others stay the same. Some moments in life are bittersweet combinations of both.
When we took Dad to the hospital and made the agonizing decision to merely keep him comfortable to the end, my Mom, my siblings, and I gathered around his bedside. Dad reached up and took my hand, and asked me to say a prayer. Somehow I got the words to flow from a heart that was breaking, and I could not help remembering all the times I heard Dad pray — at
|mealtimes, at family gatherings, in church, and various other occasions. |
I recalled the night I was ordained to ministry, after all the family and friends and well-wishers had gone home, when my parents got on their knees with me and prayed for me. And now here I was standing next to a hospital bed, praying for my Dad, hoping I was voicing what my Mom and my sisters and brother wanted to say but couldn’t.
I truly am amazed at “how things change,” as well as “how they stay the same.”
Now it’s time for me to move on — not forgetting Dad, of course, but transforming my relationship with him from one of presence to one of memory, celebrating everything in me which was shaped by him while becoming more the person I was created by God to become.
And it’s time for us at FCC to move on as well. After 175 years there is still transformational work to be done. The past must be celebrated, for we would not be the community of faith we are without it. Yet, we were not created to be carbon copies of our spiritual forbears. There is always a new day dawning, a new pair of shoes to step into, a new road to travel that is the same as the old road yet very different.
After 175 years we can still be amazed at how things change and how they stay the same — with 175 Septembers come and gone.