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Change Is Not Only Inevitable — But We Should Welcome It.

“Bah, Humbug!” as Scrooge used to say.

I remember one of my school English teachers moaning about how people often got the wrong end of the stick when it came to Ebenezer Scrooge.

Have you read Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol? Dickens never meant for Scrooge to be a villain. Yes, Scrooge was a miser and disliked by pretty much everybody.

But the story doesn’t end with Scrooge dying a miserable and lonely death.

Scrooge wakes up after a restless night of ghost visitations and decides things can be different. He chose to be compassionate, generous and happy. He understands that he can behave differently toward others. He can look at things differently. His miserable past does not need to determine his future. He went on to live the rest of his life a model of generosity, joy and goodwill toward all.

Nobody ever “kept Christmas,” Dickens tells us, like Ebenezer Scrooge.

His life story illustrates the words of George Elliot:

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Change is inevitable.

Are you the same as you were ten years ago? The simple answer is no. If nothing else, you are older and hopefully wiser.

Change is all around us. Someone said that change is the only constant in life. We are changing all the time, and we can’t always see it — but without cell regeneration and repair

within our bodies, the scratch on our hand or broken leg would not heal.

We can try to avoid change, bury our heads, and dig a hole to hide in, but it will still happen all around us, and we will have to deal with it at some point in our lives.

Some people will change when encouraged to see the good. Others change only when they feel compelled by force or are made to feel the heat. But change is what God wants for us, for us to become more like Jesus every day.

On this Sunday, when the lectionary focuses on the Transfiguration, I want to ask what it means to be transfigured.

After six days, Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There, he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. (Mark 9.2–3: NIV)

Transfiguration means seeing others (and ourselves) in a new way. The three disciples were changed by seeing Jesus in a new way. The world changes when we view other religions, races, and genders with caring and compassion.

Apart from this being the Transfiguration Sunday, this is also the last Sunday before Lent.

Are you ready for it? Have you thought of what you might do this lent? Is it the same every year? Do you give something up like chocolate or biscuits? You may stop watching TV or scrolling on social media. I know people who have done or do these things (and more) at Lent.

One church I know decided to act as a group and try to be more environmentally friendly.

They each chose from a list of things like:

  • Not taking car journeys of less than a mile

  • Committing not to travel by air that year

  • Taking showers of only 2 minutes instead of a bath.

To them, it was a more positive way of doing Lent. It may be something you might consider this Lent.

I recently read something I found very useful:

The fear of commitment to the will of God is something we must overcome if we are to be helpful. It may involve a step into the darkness, which may terrify us, but we cannot know the relief and safety that awaits us until we take that step.

The thought of moving house or changing jobs can be terrifying, but if it is his plan, we will never realise the future happiness or rewards waiting for us until we take that risk or step of faith.

What about you? What change might God be asking you for?

A survey showed that 98% of people had failed to keep their New Year resolutions this year. Lent is only 40 days, so any changes are easier to deal with than forever changes.

But giving up something is quite a negative thing. We may find that doing or giving is more productive and positive for us now.

So many simple things could make a massive difference if we all did them. Lent is a time when we should consider all aspects of our lives. It is supposed to be a season of soul-searching and repentance. A period for reflection and taking stock, perhaps helping us gain a different perspective on our lives and the world we care about, of listening to God and making a positive change.

It can be scary because most people fear change. We worry about making the wrong choices or the right decisions. We must be bold in our faith and hope in God and his love for us.

Some people in the bible had their names changed,

  • Abram became Abraham,

  • Jacob became Israel

  • Simon became Peter

  • Saul became Paul,

They changed their name because God needed them to do something special for him. They were transformed and given a new name and a new purpose.

God saw the potential inside each of them. Like a sculptor with a lump of clay or a carver with some wood or stone sees what is hidden inside, and then with care and patience, it is brought to life. So God looks at us and sees the people he wants us to be.

Do we need to be reminded that we are loved, we were created with a purpose in mind and no matter who we are now, God has a plan for us that will make us into who he wants us to be no matter our age or abilities?

However, we need to want to follow him, do his will, be his ambassador, and have faith that he knows best.

Our unwillingness to change is daft, really silly. Not our fear of change but the refusal to change. It’s quite natural to be afraid of change.

But you see, God wants the very best for us, and the best for us is to be like Christ.

Will this make us uncomfortable? Yes, it should; if we do it well, it will change us; if we really think about it and do it honestly, it will.

It’s not always easy to be like Christ, but Jesus calls us to be uncomfortable and reminds us to be unafraid so that we may live up to our faith and become the people God made us to be. To be folded and shaped into Jesus-shaped people.

God is love, and we should try to be like Jesus, as Jesus-shaped as we can be, and show his love to everyone in what we do, what we say, and how we say it, and allow it to change us and transfigure us.

Holy God,we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ:may we reflect his life in word and deed,that all the world may know his power to change and save.This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


This blog post is adapted from a sermon preached by Sandy Walker at Saltburn Methodist Church on February 11th 2024.


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