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Changes

January 6, 2012 No Comment

by Peggy Pedersen

As the new year gets underway, two major changes are happening in my life. Number one, I am looking for work, as the contract with my previous employer has expired after three years. It would be a comfort at this time to have the familiar surroundings of my church where I have been worshipping. But – and this is the second change – on January 15 they are decommissioning our building. For the next year and a half we will be holding services in a seniors lodge while our new church home (which will be part of a new seniors residential building) is constructed. This will undoubtedly entail many changes.

One thing I will greatly miss is a place to kneel for holy communion. This matters to me because when I returned to Christ after many years, I had just begun to recover from a knee injury. I was only a couple of weeks post-crutches when I took my first communion at Redeemer Lutheran. I had not been able to rest on my knee for two years and was not sure I could do so now, but it meant a great deal for me to kneel before my Lord to receive Him. I decided, no matter what, I would kneel.

When I knelt that first morning, I was not sure whether I would experience intense pain. I also worried whether I would be able to get back up from that position. But by God’s grace, I was able to kneel and rise, and have been able to do so ever since. Nowhere have I felt more at home than when kneeling at that altar for confession, absolution, and holy communion. Yet that very altar – along with the entire church building – will soon be gone.

As we face changes in our lives, there is always great uncertainty. Will it be all right? Having been brought to our knees metaphorically, will we be able to rise again?

If we remember that we are in His hands, and we come before Him trusting in His mercy and care, He will not fail us. Knowing that it is our Heavenly Father who provides all our needs soothes our anxieties in the face of loss and change. He has the means to provide for us, physically and spiritually.

He is our rock, our strong tower.

Everything around us – even the things which seem stable – can suddenly change. It is nice to know, therefore, that we have One who does not change. He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is our rock, our strong tower. We cannot see what the future holds; it is hidden from our eyes. But really, all we need to see is Jesus. Because He has redeemed us with His own blood, we are His, and we can know that He will care for us no matter what else changes.

“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says:
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you” (Isaiah 43:1-2).

No circumstance can separate us from His love, and though we do not see the way ahead of us, we can trust that He is with us, He knows the way, and He is leading us. And that suffices.

“I have made, and I will bear,” he comforts us, “I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4). His promises are sure and so we know He will never forsake us. Our church building may be gone but the church of “living stones” will never go. And when we approach the altar to receive Him, wherever the church gathers, He will be there to meet us and give Himself to us in His own precious body and blood to forgive. He will strengthen and sustain us, and someday lead us Home.

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Peggy Pedersen is a writer in Victoria, B.C. where she is a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church.