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A Light for our Paths

A Light for our Paths

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." It is hard to imagine those words being any more comforting to the original audience of Hebrews than they are to us today. The past year has been so full of things not the same in the world around us, in our nation, here in our own church family. It is difficult to imagine that we are only a year removed from one of the most contested Presidential elections in our nation's history. Somehow, not much of that seems memorable after the events of September 11. The events of September 11 make it difficult to remember anything else that happened in 2001.

Who would have imagined that by the year 2002 we would be taking off our shoes to clear security in our airports? Who would have believed that the workers would just now be finding bodies in the rubble of Ground Zero? Who would have imagined that an economic recession would not be the number one story of the year? Who really wanted to watch those "year in review" shows time around to re-experience just how much life did change in 2001?

Not all of the changes of the past year have been bad for us. Every year brings death to celebrities and heroes; perhaps 2001 will be remembered as the year we discovered the difference. One can easily sense that the events of 9/11 have stirred the national conscience and the spiritual conscience of our nation in overwhelmingly positive ways. Who among us would have ever imagined that a Muslim leader and a Christian leader would share a joint prayer for peace--right here in our own building! Even the economic news has not all been bad. Who would have imagined just a year ago that the interest rate on my home improvement loan would drop "ten times"--that's a Biblical number used when one can't remember how many, but you know it was a lot! Whoever heard of an automobile company offering 0% financing?

The changes beyond the boundaries of Woodmont Hills make it difficult to remember that even here we have undergone significant changes in the past year. Our number of shepherds was increased by more than 1/3. It's been impossible to stay up with the numbers of people 'joining our journey' each week. We are forever changed in the past year by the new and renewed experiences we have shared around the Lord's Table. I will not forget our shared communion on Passover Sunday in 2001, or the family communion in September.

As powerful as our memories of 2001 are for the moment, we know the truth of our existence--not all memories last. In fact, there is great insecurity attached to our memories. Just how long will this new patriotic fervor last? How long will we remember the depth of insecurity that we felt? Will we continue to be motivated to search--not just for terrorists but also for new understandings of peace in our world? How long will Americans remember that we are not immune from the disasters that have been occurring everywhere else on this planet all along? In the midst of financial and global insecurity, how long with the search for spiritual security have some priority in our national conscience?

It is good to know and trust that perfect love casts out fear, and that while physical circumstances may constantly change, our faith and hope rest in the Changeless One. Jesus is Lord--the anchor of our souls, the changeless light who brightens our paths and secures our walk with God, come what may, in 2002.
John O. York

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