Relying on God in Times of Change

Last weekend the parishioners of St Peter’s were informed of the departure of Fr. Gallatin. While it is nice to finally have an answer after many months of waiting, we are still in a time of transition. It is another time of change here in the parish. When our new priest arrives it will be the fourth priest this parish has seen in the past eight and a half years. That is a lot of change for one parish!

I myself am going through big changes this summer (besides work changes). Some of you may know that I am mother of two boys. My oldest, John has taken a job working at Yosemite National Park this summer and will not be home. Andy is my six foot five “baby.” He has left for the summer to attend boot camp at Fort Benning in Georgia. I am, for this summer at least, an empty nester.

At this time of summer the graduation parties are starting to wind down and it won’t be long before we start to see the back to school sales popping up in stores. I do apologize for bringing this up already. Kindergarteners will be eagerly waiting to start their days at school, teens will be preparing for high school and our recent graduates will be preparing for college or jobs.

On July 4th we will be celebrating the birthday of our country. Our country is young by many standards, only 238 years old. It has seen its ups and down, times of war and times of peace, financial prosperity and recessions. We have gone through times of great celebration such as the first man on the moon and tragic loss as the attacks on 9-11. On the 4th many of us will attend parades, picnics, fireworks and wave our flags. It will hopefully be a day of joy and laughter.

How are any of these topics related? What, you may ask, does any of this have to do with this week’s readings or Gospel? The one thing each of these situations has in common is change. Change, it has been said is one of the constants in life and it can be life altering and frightening.  It can be a time of great growth, stress, uncertainty,
confusion and joy.

After Jesus’ death and latter his ascension into heaven the apostles faced a time of great change. The one who they followed, believed in and loved was taken from them. They were alone. They were facing an uncertain and probably most frightening future. Would they be persecuted, would they be able to reach out to their followers and teach them about Jesus and his love?  Would they be able to fulfill the great responsibility that was placed upon their very human shoulders?

Peter is asked by Jesus who the Son of Man is; he replies “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It is this insight that allows Peter to become the rock upon which the Church is built. It is this knowledge and faith that
allows him that great honor of holding the keys to the kingdom.

Peter’s answer to Jesus and his call to be the keeper of the keys can provide each of us the strength and grace to make it through times of change. It is this support that can buoy us up in our toughest time. For if we have the knowledge and faith in the greatness and wisdom and caring of Jesus Christ we can shoulder great uncertainty. I’m not saying this will always be easy but knowing that God is behind us, supporting us and loving us we will have a much better chance of crossing through the rough waters in life.

One of my favorite poems is Footprints in the Sand. I’m sure most of you know it. It is the one where the man looks back upon his life as footprints in the sand. Through his life journey he sees two sets of footsteps, his and God’s. At certain times, times of great struggle, there are only one set. He asks God why he was abandoned at those times and learns that is when God carried him.

Maybe if we have that faith in God, try to give up the control that so many of us need to have, have the insight that Peter had we would weather the times of change with less stress and heartache. If we truly put our faith in God and are open to him and his way, we may actually grow and become a better person as we face each uncertainty.

Think of the great responsibility our founding fathers faced. Do they break away from their home country, do they risk the lives of many of their neighbors even their own lives, face an uncertain future? They must have spent a lot of time in prayer on this. Perhaps that is why we see on our coins “In God We Trust.”

Perhaps as we going through another round of changes at St. Peter’s we can face it with trust and faith in our Lord. We can take some time and spend it in prayer for peaceful transition. We can strive to have that faith in God and to know that this is not an end but a new beginning. Sure it will be tough to get to another priest but maybe we can recognize that this is all in God’s plan and trust in him.

One Response to “Relying on God in Times of Change”

  1. Twila Blackowiak says:

    You are getting a wonderful priest and we will miss Fr. Steven Hoffman sorely. When he announced that he would be leaving us after only 4 years, he was very emotional and said that it was the best 4 years of his life. Everyone in the church was crying. We will be driving to your church to hear Fr. Steven’s homilies. We all just love him! And you will too.
    Twila Blackowiak

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