This month’s column by the Moderator is a video podcast available at www.youtube.com/gradyeparsons. Below is the transcript.
It’s the first day of April as I record this video, and there are weather forecasts calling for snow in the Northeast. Nevertheless, it is unmistakably spring, and as proof I offer two words: Opening Day – the time when all major league teams start off with perfect records, hoping to capitalize on off-season changes.
For Christians, of course, it is the season of Lent, the time when we journey with Jesus toward the cross, the time when we seek not to deny him – but, with human failing, inevitably do. It is also the time when we look forward with faith to the journey’s next step – the journey toward the empty tomb, when we experience the miracle of God’s saving grace and the promise of new life – and a perfect record for each of us.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is also on a journey – a journey whose end is not yet known. Our presbyteries are voting on important issues, most notably a change to ordination standards, a proposed new Form of Government, and the addition of the Belhar Confession to The Book of Confessions.
It is both exciting and daunting to be in the midst of such change. At the same time, I know that the anxiety of change has the potential to overwhelm us. I also know that in the months ahead, some of us will rejoice and some of us will grieve over changes that are made.
The adoption of any of these changes will bring change to the way we live our lives together. We have also seen over the past few months the beginning of several conversations about what the PC(USA) should be – how do we as a denomination effectively proclaim that saving grace of an empty tomb to a 21st century world?
I take comfort in knowing that the church in every time and place has had to confront change. I also take comfort in knowing that God has always been with us in the midst of change, and that God is with us now.
I invite you to join in the conversations that are happening across the church, so that we, together, may discern the new things that God is creating in our midst.
Elder Cynthia Bolbach is Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).