Vestry Devotion: “Things Are Always Changing”

Shane Jones web.jpg

Each month, Good Shepherd’s Vestry meetings begin with a devotion offered by a Vestry member, and, for the past year, we have been including these devotions in the Sheepskin. This month’s Vestry devotion is submitted by our Senior Warden, Shane Jones. 

As I reflect on my life, I can summarize it succinctly as a constant series of changes.  Things are always changing.

From a physical perspective, the matter currently making up my body was unleashed by God, with the simple statement “Let there be light”.  From then forward, through multiple iterations and transformations, I stand before you today.  Of course, I have also changed significantly during my time spent on this earth.  From a bouncing baby boy, weighing in at 8lb, 14.5oz, taking my first breath on a Father’s day in the early 70’s to a scrawny teenager to a 40something father of two, living in the suburbs.  Things are always changing.

From a spiritual perspective, the change rolls on.  When I was a child I acted as a child and had the spirituality of a child.  As a cradle Episcopalian, I went to Sunday school and was confirmed in the Church, my spirituality began to form.  At Ilium, the Episcopal Church camp near Telluride, my spirituality began to blossom.  During my senior year of high school, my faith and spirituality were tested, when seven people close to me died, or were killed, in separate incidents.  A very rough time, but my spirituality grew.  During a particularly difficult time in 2003/2004, I had no choice but to test my spirituality again and place all faith in God and give Him my problems with work, the church and a newborn 3lb preemie.  God took care of everything and I ended up changing jobs, switching to Good Shepherd and bringing home a tiny little girl, after six weeks in the NICU. Things are always changing.

From my perspective, people don’t mind change, they mind being changed.  People fear the loss and uncertainty that is often associated with change.   I happen to love change, I have made a career out of it.  I like change the most, when I am the architect of the change.  Claes Janssen, a Swedish psychologist and researcher, uses the model of a four room house to describe phases of change.  The first room is denial.  As Craig described in his sermon several months ago, denial is a survival tool.  When faced with powerlessness, we look out for number one and “jockey for positions of importance.”  In his book In Defense of the Devil, Janssen attributes denial to the devil.  After the denial phase, we move to a state of confusion, which is described as the Holy Spirit and filled with mystery.  In the confusion room we find the zero point, where we reach “sweet surrender” and let go of the old.  From confusion we transcend to Renewal, which is appropriately called the Jesus room.  New life.  We then move to Contentment, or the God room.  This is a space where all is right with us and the world and we are in right relationship with God.
As we move forward with our ministries at Good Shepherd, we must be mindful that things are always changing.  As we find ourselves moving through the phases of change, be mindful of what room you are in.  Things are always changing, and we need to continually contemplate who is the architect of the change?      

[1 Corinthians 15:51-42] 
"Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." 

[1 John 3:2]
"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is" 

[Revelation 21:1]
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more." 

[Malachi 3:6]
"For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed." 

Joseph Campbell
We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us”.

Winston Churchill
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”.

Charles Darwin
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

John Kotter
Leaders make change simple, managers make complexity simple”.