BY ELIZABETH MITCHELL |
There is a joke that I have often heard told by others, and even told myself a few times. It goes like this:
“How many Moravians does it take to change a light bulb?” The listener would politely ask how many. The teller of the joke responds incredulously, “Moravians? Change?” The joke being that Moravians never change.
There is something to the sameness of ritual in the church. I admit that one of the things that I love the most about the Moravian church is the comfort of knowing what to expect. In an ever-changing world, coming to church often provides the respite that I need. My husband and I recently switched our membership from Olivet Moravian to Kernersville Moravian to be closer to home and just changing the words of the blessing from “dear ones” to “loved ones” feels wrong. My husband refuses to change the word when we say the blessing at gatherings or lovefeasts and still loudly declares “dear ones.” It is so hard to stray from our comfort zone because it is precisely that: comfortable.
Recently my husband and I have had the ultimate change in our family. We were blessed to welcome a daughter into our lives in November. She came screaming into the world. Even with all of my careful planning and preparations, I was not prepared for the reality of pain, tears, hormones, and sleep deprivation. However, even in the haze of sleepless nights, there is also the great reward of gazing on my child and feeling overwhelmed with joy and love. It is an indescribable blessing to be a mother.
We are blessed to live in this era and this country because loving Jesus gets to be comfortable for us. However, in Biblical times, Jesus was a radical who called for extreme changes from the norms. He loved the unlovable and cast off the high and mighty. He questioned the Jewish leaders and their laws. He called for his followers to leave all behind them to embrace a new life.
Historically, Moravians have also been agents of change. Our founder, John Hus, called for such radical changes that he was burned at the stake for his hypocrisy. Moravian missionaries, both historical and current, embrace change to the point of uprooting their whole lives to bring the good news to those who need to hear it.
Not all of us are called this level of radical change, but I think that being a Christian and a Moravian means that we are called to take the time to evaluate our lives and see where God needs us to be. Sometimes that calling could be far away, or sometimes that calling is in our own backyard. Oftentimes these callings may require us to change our lives in some way, and sometimes we are called to be uncomfortable. Few changes come without birthing pains, but with courage and God’s support, we will see the joy that can also come with changes, whether big or small.
Entering a new year is always a time of both retrospection and looking to the future as we see where the past year has taken us and also look to what we want to see in the new year. The biggest problem with resolutions is that they are usually made in the moment and quickly forgotten. I find that the years that I actually complete resolutions are the years when I take the time to make a plan. As a Christian are there things about your spiritual life that you would like to see change this year? As a member of your church, are there things you would like to see change this year?
For my family, 2018 was a year of great change, and we will spend 2019 adjusting to those changes. I am excited to see where this year takes us as a family. I also believe that this could be a significant year in the life of the church if we take the time to see where God is calling us and embrace the discomfort of any changes that that may come with that calling. We can maintain our historical rituals, but I also believe that one of the historical rituals of the church is change.
I pray that as we enter 2019, it will be a year of blessings for each of you and your congregations. As you think about where God is calling you this year, may you embrace the discomfort of any changes with a courageous heart and an open mind.
About the Author
Elizabeth Mitchell is a lifelong Moravian who grew up as a member at Olivet Moravian and is a current member at Kernersville Moravian church where she loves singing as part of the Chapel Choir. She works as a family educator at Imprints Cares, a local non-profit that helps families in Forsyth County. She is married and has one beautiful daughter.
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