“The squirrels are fighting in and about the oak tree whose roots extend to unseen places below me and whose branches extend toward the infinity of sky above me. Yes, the squirrels are raising a ruckus. But the Old Oak is unmoved but still growing, and I love Her Shade and the hope of Her Acorns.”
My friend Brad Bull posted this on his Facebook page recently. My response was to ask if this was a metaphor for some particular event. He did not respond directly, so I will put my spin on it (with his permission to reproduce his comment).
A lot of things have happened in our country over the past two months. Some have grieved, some have rejoiced, some have forgiven, some have become angry. Society and culture work that way. We find our own ways to cope or make sense out of change, when things seem out of control. None of us in complete control; if you think you are, I can recommend a good counselor to you.
Here's my "spin" on Brad's comment. The church has been around for two thousand years. Sometimes it has led and sometimes it has followed. The church has blessed and it has oppressed. The key thing is that the church has survived and prospered. Why? Because the church (and by this I mean those who are called into fellowship with Christ) has listened to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has informed, transformed, and empowered believers through time of significant change and crisis. Of course, sometimes this adjustment takes awhile.
Since the Bible does not condemn slavery, Christians used the acceptance of the practice in the first century to justify its practice well into the 19th century. At the same time, Jesus said a lot about caring for the poor, orphaned, and widowed but somehow that message hasn't gotten through to all of us yet. Change can be very slow.
Accepting change is never easy. Winston Churchill said "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing--after they have tried everything else." The same can be said for the church. Even when we realize that the Spirit is calling us into something new, the process of change can be slow and agonizing. The only real sign of life is change. It is time that we understand and embrace that truth.