“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” Charles Kettering, engineer and inventor
Good Folks, it is Friday, June 5, 2015. I have often said, “Change is constant.” How we adapt to change determines survivability, adaptability, and/or our desire to learn from new ways of doing things. This can also bring about renewal and discovery in interesting and creative ways.
The first human organ transplant was a kidney transplant performed in 1954. The donor of the kidney was the identical twin of the recipient and therefore there was no immune rejection of the organ. The recipient lived for eight years following the transplant and the surgeon who performed the transplant, Dr. Joseph Murray, went on to win the Nobel Prize for this work. The recipient of the first heart transplant, performed in 1967 by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, lived only 18 days. The patient did not die because the new heart failed, but because of pneumonia that the patient acquired due to the patient’s immune system being compromised by the anti-rejection drugs that the patient had to take. These two cases illustrate both the promise and the challenges of organ transplantation: donor organs can greatly extend life, but there is a critical shortage of donors and, unless the donor is the identical twin of the recipient, the recipient’s body will always reject the donor organ. (1.)
Change is a constant in our lives. We have had our share of staff changes these past years. We have said “welcome” to several and our “farewells” too. Change is a constant in our lives. As many of the readers of Frankly Speaking know, I enjoy gardening and landscaping as a hobby. It is work, yet relaxing. I am always looking at the gardens and landscapes as living organisms…evolving and constantly changing, even when change is not readily obvious. Changes occur below ground, unseen until we get our hands in the dirt. I believe that this last statement is what happens in our church, locally and generally. Getting our hands and hearts involved.
In 1967, I was 13 years old and fascinated of the news from South Africa of Dr. Barnard’s human heart surgery. It was in January 23, 1964 that the first heart transplant occurred, from a chimpanzee to a human heart. The chimp’s heart beat for 90 minutes inside Rush’s chest, but unfortunately proved too small to keep its new human body alive. Hardy’s patient died shortly after the operation was complete. (2.)
What if medical science and technology opted to continue blood-letting as a form of removing “bad blood” from its patient? What if great thinkers and scientist were not given the freedom to experiment? What if Thomas Edison quit after the first failed light bulb filament trial? What if Jesus, after the haphazard faithfulness of his disciples, called it quits on humanity? No. Because there is always hope.
Lovett Weems says these timely words, “Renewal will not come from imitating the past. It will not come from a nostalgic longing for the empire days of a culture gone or going, nor from adopting values alien to God’s revelation in Christ. Renewal will come, as it always does, in a rediscovery of the church’s rich heritage, identity, and mission.” (3.)
Church, I believe that God has an even greater purpose for our lives and for the mission of this church. I am hopeful. Join me in praying together for patience, wisdom, love and an extra measure of faith as we discern God’s future for FUMCD.
See you Sunday.
Church Leadership: Vision, Team, Culture, and Integrity, revised edition (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2010), 132.