“If Change is So Good, Why Don’t YOU Go First?”

a sermon based on Jeremiah 29:11-14

As I said just before singing today’s solo: We’ve all heard the news of the protest marches following the killing of George Floyd while he was being arrested in Minneapolis two weeks ago… including two rallies of peaceful support that took place here in Alpena this past week. I saw Vicky Lindsay there, and Marcia Aten; both Keith & Ginny Titus were there on their motorized wheelchairs; Jay & Marilyn Kettler, and others of you.

In an article about the protests sweeping the nation, I read: “This has to change,” said 39-year-old Aisxia Betiste, an out-of-work massage therapist in Orlando. “Something has to give. We’re done. This is the beginning of the end of something. It has to be.” Change.

On the next page, the Colorado governor & Denver Mayor issued a joint statement: “This is a time for healing, for bringing people together, and the best way to protect civil rights is to move away from escalating violence.”

In the editorial that same day in The Alpena News, Bill Speer & Justin Hinkley wrote: “What occurred to George Floyd in Minneapolis recently was a tragedy. His death was senseless and wrong. Thus, if most of us can agree to that fact, let justice play out there, and let us, as a society, concentrate on working to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again. Let’s have dialogue and discussion to see where we have fallen short in treating people the same.

“Let’s identify areas that could be improved upon and let’s develop plans to make change. (Change!) Let’s work to correct the wrongs that have existed for too long.

“But let’s not continue to destroy property, burn vehicles, and create chaos. Let’s end the violence, the anarchy, and the vandalism. … We need to heal. We need to come together. We need to return to the place where one person can still make a difference in another’s life.

“We need to bring together leaders of all sides and sit down and start the change. (the Change!) We need to give those men and women the latitude to work together with no agenda in mind other than creating a world where humans repsect each other and value each other.” (unquote)

“If I could change the world…” Last Sunday, in that solo by Shawn Philips that I sang for you, the opening verse said: “If all the kings and castles of the world would become as one, we’d rise in the light of God’s desire, and live in the house of none. We’d see with the eyes of total love, and live in the heart of everyone in love. And those that are there will find us; and those that are not, won’t bind us; for we cannot believe in their madness nor their blindness.”

What all those articles & editorials, all the lyrics of those songs are getting at, is the creative challenge that opportunities for change give us. Many folks resist “change” because the unknown firightens them; they prefer settled certainties to creative novelty with its uncertainty.

If there is one thing that’s for certain, it’s that “Things Change.”

In our own lives, we have all experienced many changes. We change as we grow up… and change again as we grow older. Our bodies change, our relationships with our parents change; perhaps we move away from our home to go to college, or to get married… We change jobs; people divorce; friends & family members die.