Four men set out on a hike. When they reached the mountaintop, they rested and soaked in the beautiful expanse from their new altitude. Little did they know that following their trip up the trail, they would never be the same.
Harvard professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, writes, “Change is meant to bring something different, but how different? We are creatures of habit. Change is a departure from the past.”
Our lives are constantly changing. That sentence probably comes at no surprise to anybody. As much as we try to keep our lives neatly fashioned into their most comfortable place, something falls from our perfectly coordinated shelf. And sometimes that thing knocked some other things off as well.
In the Gospel of Mark, Peter noticed the intense transformation as soon as their hiking group reached the mountaintop. In a comedic moment, he resisted the essential change by fixing his attention on the extraordinary event, insisting that they build shelters upon the mountain.
Similar to Kanter’s observation, I have found that I am open to change whenever I can anticipate a certain level of predictability. If I can assume it will benefit me, I welcome it quite willingly. But when I can see that change is going to stir or discomfort or be lonely, I find myself doing everything in my power to keep life the way that it was before. I do not accept all change. I will quickly compare my life now to my life then. Although I know that good things have come from other difficult transitions in my life, I simply cannot bring myself to adapt again.
James and John, the other two on the hiking trip that day with Jesus, didn’t wait long after coming down from the mountain to ask Jesus if they could be his right-hand men because of their transformative experience.
They are changed by the mountaintop experience but cannot grasp the results of their transformation.
“Where’s the blessing now, Jesus?” I can hear them mumble.
The blessing is right where it’s always been — within each of us. The divine breath that we mysteriously take in and breathe out. The sacred food and drink that sustains our life.
In his book Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell, writes, “Times change…We learn and grow, and the world around us shifts and the Christian faith is alive only when it is listening, morphing, innovating, letting go of whatever has gotten in the way of Jesus and embracing whatever will help us be more and more the people God wants us to be.”
Life is a gift — -the world, people, today, diversity, art, tomorrow, pain, love, joy, sorrow. Change must occur in order to for us expand in love and grace.
I reminded of such a moment in my life years ago:
The heartbeat of my hope in this change lies within a child who stares across the Great Rift Valley.
He imagines. He prays. He hurts. He cries. He listens. He laughs. He breathes. God hears. I breathe.
I pray that in this change the God that sustains his being will sustain mine. And will hear me. I join in that ancient song of the world that cries on behalf of those hurting and joins in the celebration of those tonight falling in love and laughing around the dinner table. I hold onto this deep love that never changes. And just maybe, that changes everything.