Thought for the Day – Teaching from Change by Rev Gayle Taylor

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1 v 17

Our bible verse today from the old poetic King James translation has inspired generations of writers and musicians to think about the constancy of God in comparison to the continual changes of life.

Henry Francis Lyte wrote these words we often sing at a funeral when life has changed so much for those who are mourning: 

Change and decay in all around I see,
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

And Thomas Chisholm wrote these words that many in the church know off by heart:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

And Bob Dylan, singer and lyric poet wrote:

As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

Human beings, in general tend to struggle with change, especially in the church! Over the decades I’ve witnessed many debates and arguments about things like introducing new music and technology and even about changing the carpet or colour of walls. There’s an old saying however, that “change is the only constant”. From a faith perspective of course, we know that’s not right. My own minister when I was growing up taught me that the bible says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever”; it does not say the church is the same yesterday, today and forever. However, when life around us changes quickly and things become almost unrecognisable, it’s only natural that we would cling on all the more tightly to the familiar and comfortable. Yesterday we touched on the paradox of there being death and life existing hand in hand in daily life, so too, in each day there is change and constancy. How terrible it would be if there was never anything new and how good it is that we are learning and adapting all the time – this brings growth no matter what age we are. But we also have to have a baseline that doesn’t change, a core belief that we belong to God, we are God’s children and our Father God is constant in His love and care for us in all seasons.

Today’s prayer of thanksgiving:

Great is thy faithfulness! 
Great is thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
all I have needed thy hand hath provided–
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!