A sudden snow fall in Denver today has blanketed the land with white, heavy snow. It is, for an easterner, confusing to have so much snow in mid-May on my tulips. I open my closet and find myself wondering if I was premature to replace sweaters with linen. Then I am reminded that it’s a first-world problem.
But beneath the questions of snow and climate is the question of change. Because western thinking is linear, change seems harder to manage than it does in the East in which time has a more circular pattern of loop-de-loops. One of the ways of being in this world in which our Buddhist brethren so excel is the acknowledgement and the lived-out-acceptance that the one rule which seems immobile is that everything will change.
We, in the western church tend to build massive monuments and establish systems and rules in the hopes that we can stop change. We want things to change – but only until they fit our world view. We want things to change to be more in line with what we bring to the table. We want change when that change makes the world, or at least our small piece of it, look the way we believe it should look. But then we want to lock that in as immobile, set, determined and unchangeable. And then we wonder why we feel stress.
Change happens, and what scriptures say is that the great key to managing the stresses and strains of change is to let go of the outcomes. Jesus modeled that in the passion. And there in is the key. Jesus did not give up. Jesus let God do what God seemed to be doing and was willing to imagine the possibility that despite what he could see and even imagine as an imminent outcome, Jesus seemed to be able to download the level of faith and trust and hope which gave Jesus the power to let go. In Gethsemene and even on the cross itself, Jesus had some hard questions for God. But in the end, Jesus’ spiritual life was so deep, and his awareness of God’s love so strong, and his confidence that all shall be well so resolute, that He was able to walk the way of the passion into resurrection.
The look of confusion on Kai’s face was priceless this morning in the late spring snow. And it is a look I have occasionally seen in the mirror and in pastoral visits. But as confusing as life can be, and as sure of change as life seems to make me, I am working hard to be a Christian and not a Deist. I am working at developing a spiritual practice such that when strange, unexpected things occur because life has brought its inevitable changes, I believe that God is involved in this life, constantly co-creating it with us and the planet and that God’s very close love will be the one constant.