I wonder how many of you wish things could be different? I know I miss seeing my congregation gathered and mask free. I wish we could have been together this year for Conference. I’m guessing I am not the only one spending time and energy pushing against what is. What if we stopped wishing things were different and instead started seeing things differently? Our Conference themes this year all expressed the idea of 2020 being the year of clearer vision. Perhaps clearer vision comes with a shift in our own perception.
There’s a popular Christian song called Different, by Micah Tyler that calls for this shift in perception. He wrote it several years ago and put it away. But then the circumstances in his life changed and this song became his prayer, his reminder. I believe the song and the story behind it are good reminders for us in the midst of the challenges in our ministries and in our lives.
Last year Micah experienced several unexpected, life altering family challenges to include the death of his grandmother. Micah admits that although his grandmother’s faith never wavered, he found himself asking “God, can you change these things? Will you change these things?” In the midst of this pandemic and racial tensions how many of us have asked “Why is this happening?” Like us, Micah longed for things to be different. Yet in the midst of all these circumstances he discovered that sometimes the best question isn’t asking for things to be different, but asking to be changed so that you can see things differently. How many of us could echo these words from Different:
I don't wanna hear anymore, teach me to listen
I don't wanna see anymore, give me a vision-
That you could move this heart, to be set apart-
I don't need to recognize, the man in the mirror
And I don't wanna trade Your plan, for something familiar
I can't waste a day, I can't stay the same-
I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
'Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there's something different
So come and be different
I know that now more than ever what the world needs, what our community needs, what those we cherish need, is for us to be a fire so bright that the world can see that there is something different, that there is a different way to be in the world even in the midst of all the upheaval. May your fire burn brighter than ever and your vision be clear!