I must have been about 11 or 12. I remember my disappointment at being told my mum’s family would not all be getting together for Christmas Day that year because some of my older cousins would be spending the day with their in-laws.

It was a change I didn’t like. After church and lunch, we’d always spent Christmas Day playing cricket on a deserted road or nearby oval, telling stories and jokes, and generally mucking around. I thought Christmas would never be as good again.

I was wrong. Over the years, new Christmas traditions were formed with other family members and friends. It is still a most treasured time of gathering with loved ones. Many of us have had similar experiences of dreading a change, only to find out it was a blessing. Even so, changes can be unsettling and they can make us feel sad or fearful.

As this month’s cover reminds us, ‘for everything there is a season’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1a). A season only. No more. While we may wish things would stay the same, change is inevitable – including in the church as an institution.

We may wish we could hold on to ‘the good old days’ in terms of worship attendance, the number of younger people in our congregations, or the standing of the church in society. It is natural that we face these sorts of changes with apprehension. They remind us that we’re not in control of what comes next.

We often put our trust in ourselves, things and other people, rather than in God, and those things and people have let us down. Our God, though, never lets us down, never leaves us, even amid the most difficult changes. God and his love are our only unchanging realities on this side of heaven.

In fact, God is the architect of change for our good, making us new each day through forgiveness. He tells us throughout Scripture that he is ‘doing a new thing’ or ‘making all things new’ and that we can ‘forget the former things’ (Isaiah 43, Isaiah 65, Ephesians 4, Hebrews 8, Revelation 21). Submitting to his will, we can face change knowing he is with us through it all and working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28).

These pages feature stories from our Lutheran family about facing change as a church. I pray that they will bless as well as challenge us to see God-given opportunities that arise when things change and we must step out in faith.

Also this month, you’ll find a bonus copy of Border Crossings, thanks to LCA International Mission (either inserted with your print edition or through https://lcamission.org.au/ under the Resources tab if you’re a digital subscriber). As always, it’s full of wonderful stories about life-changing gospel partnerships.

God bless your reading,


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