Like a giant airplane, the seasons glided into winter with the relatively smooth transitions always present in the descent toward our destination. And like most preparations for landing, we have encountered bumps that reminded us we were forsaking the smooth winds aloft for the turbulence of clouds nearer the ground.
As I consider the tableau of current events and their impact and relationship upon the body of Christ, I am reminded that even in an age of chaos, constants always exist. The swirling winds of turbulence have left few areas of our world untouched. Against this backdrop of ever-present variation, our world has been challenged with six constants. These constants are always present. They are embedded in events and circumstances of everyday life. Some of them are easy to spot while others are subtle. They're difficult to see but their presence can be felt. What are these six constants in a time of chaos?
How many different kinds of change can we identify? Destructive change, creative change, reactive change, change of hands, change of hearts, change of mind, and the change of life. If we must be prepared for anything, it is change. Change is the battle cry of politicians, technicians, and babies! We can't stop it, avoid it, or escape it. It is written into the code of existence. To resist is futile.
To describe our collective experience would be to explore the true meaning of the word volatile. Words such as explosive, erratic, and unstable leap to our attention as we survey the landscape. Where once stability appeared to reign, instability and continuous fluctuation are now the order of our times. Whether it's the meteorological upheavals of climate change or the mercurial instability of global financial markets, we live in a volatile world.
Now that we are nearly through the first decade of the 21st century, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the pain, heartache, and sting of trouble felt around the world. Like a madman, tragedy has stalked the globe and the hot tears of sorrow have splashed the innocent and the guileless with the acids of anguish.But wait . . . isn't there anything better than this? I'm so glad you asked.
Simple thankfulness has never vanished even in the midst of inexorable change. Whether it's the word of someone for whom we've done a simple favor, or the experience of corporate worship where the anthems and rhythms of praise and thanksgiving sound forth, gratitude just feels good.
The engagement of every young couple to be wed, every birth announcement, every bulldozer breaking ground for a new school reminds us of the effervescence of hope. After the blasting winds have wreaked their devastation, and the scoreboard reveals a telling deficit, hope springs eternal. We get up and try again because we believe in hope!
Celebrating in a time of chaos may seem strange, but it is not. It is a way of affirming faith, hope, love, and the virtue of a profound dream. Families understand the rituals of growth and passage in which the give and take of life is experienced. When life gives to us, we pause to celebrate. When it takes from us, we acknowledge our loss and recognize the indisputable fact that in whatever season or state of life we find ourselves, God is with us!
David J. Felter was editor in chief of Holiness Today.