2020. It’s been a year of shaking, to say the least.
- A global health crisis that pushed our public systems to breaking points.
- Loss of significant public and cultural figures.
- A rude awakening to a national history of systemic racial injustice.
- Record-setting wildfires across the state.
- A literal earthquake shaking our local community.
Beyond the public events, we’ve all had our own share of personal shake-ups. With each new trauma, many of us just shake our heads, shrug our shoulders, and say, “well, 2020.”
Change is often necessary but rarely easy. Human beings are creatures of habit, even the ones who embrace change.
Change is also a process. We want the results that change brings, and we want those results as soon as possible. We don’t want the long process required to achieve those results. It can be slow and methodical. It can require a lot of effort, discomfort, and loss of what is familiar.
Change is not second nature for most of us. But for those of us who follow Jesus, we have been given a new nature, a “second nature” of sorts.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17
In the midst of the public and personal shaking of 2020, we have had one unshakable anchor: the God we worship. He has remained on his throne and in our hearts. He has remained worthy of our worship in all forms and from all places.
God is unchanging but in our new nature, change is an ongoing requirement. Our new nature is not an instant transformation; it is a process of growth into the likeness of Christ. And growth, by definition, requires change. Our new nature is a nature of change.
As we journeyed through some of Jesus’s “I am . . .” statements, some have come to realize he is not just telling us about who he is. Because we are hidden in him (Colossians 3:3), who he is shapes who we are—as individuals and as his collective Body in this world. If we listen closely, his revelation of who he is also reveals to us who we are meant to be. In sharing about who he is, he is sharing his hope for us.
Individuals and local congregations are not alone in this journey. The global Body of Christ is in a state of growing and maturing. It is one of the reasons new songs continue to be released. One of our responses to his revelation of who we are is to sing that revelation back to him. As we learn new songs written by our spiritual brothers and sisters around the world, we gain new revelation of who he is and who we are in him. The new revelation doesn’t change our identity; it deepens and secures our identity in Christ even further.
This Sunday, we’re going to return to a topic we highlighted at the beginning of the lockdown: our unshakeable identity rooted in an unshakeable God. In the midst of all the change, we can have a consistent identity because we have a consistent God. What we do—ministries, programs, songs, gatherings—may change and adapt to current events and cultural contexts. Who we are—constantly growing to be more like him—remains aligned with who God is.
Worship with us
Wherever you are today, let these songs prepare you for Sunday’s message, reminding you of our unshakeable place in Christ because God is a consistent and faithful Father. We encourage you to let down any defenses and allow him to draw you close to his heart so you can listen closely to who he says he is and—as a natural result of your relationship with him—who he says you are.
A Pause to Worship
Last week, we mentioned we will be “pressing pause” on our Sunday services online for a short season beginning October 18. Before we do that, we are gathering in person for an outdoor hour of worship.
Save the date!
If you feel comfortable, we invite you to join us as we seek his presence in the presence of one another. If you are unable to attend in person, we will have a Zoom link for you to log in and join us virtually. Because this will be a more intimate time, we will not be streaming or posting this publicly.
Due to the current public health crisis, we will need a head count and will be observing safety protocols as put forth by health and government agencies. Please click here to RSVP and to get more details about how we will be creating a safe space for everyone to gather.
Hungry for more?
We encourage you to feast on the word of God. If you’ve got some resources on your bookshelf, dig in! If you’re looking for more translations, resources, and devotional guides, try any of the following links or search for more online.
Create an atmosphere to encounter God
During this historical time, we’ve been collecting songs along the way. You can find the playlists on SGPC’s Spotify profile (requires a free Spotify account). Listen to old favorites and discover new songs of the season! Spring off into some of the suggestions generated by Spotify or search for your own go-to songs. These also work well as background music for studying scripture (or anything else).