Change is sometimes exhilarating, sometimes scary. Often, it is both at the same time.
Over the past several weeks, the world has watched as, in one country after another, people are standing up to oppressive governments. Marching in public squares and tweeting their voices of dissent, these citizens demand change. For the most part, the protests and responses to them have been peaceful.
Libya has been a different story. There, government forces have shot unarmed protestors and threatened any who would dare ask for a regime change.
Change. While the word inspires hope among many who need it, the same word can be terrifying to those who desperately want to keep things the same.
The disciples had a vision of Jesus as he was transformed into a light-filled figure.
And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. … a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. From Matthew 17
They were excited, amazed, afraid. And then, as quickly as it had all happened, everything returned to normal. The next verse begins, “As they were coming down the mountain…”
Up the mountain, light and sound show, then back down again. They resumed the walk to Jerusalem and the cross. Whatever they’d experienced on the mountain seems to have been at least partly designed to remind them that there is great power they could not see, and that the final resolution of things would be in the hands of One who can speak out of the clouds.
Change was at hand, but it might not be easy.
I’ve been thinking of those far-away people in Libya and other places who are giving their time and risking their safety for a better future. They get charged up by the thrill, and terrified by the danger, of what is happening. Someday soon it will be over and they will have to go on living. Back down the mountain.
Will the experience of protest, the memory of joining in an important movement, of attempting to be agents of positive change, be able to take them through whatever happens next?
And what about you? When change is imminent, what will be your emotional stance?
Here’s the thing: change is always imminent. Life never stays the same for long. Will you embrace the dramatically beautiful but reject the difficult? Or will you be able, during the difficult changes, to recall the beautiful? To remember the moments when God seemed close, when light invaded dimness, when some glimpse of what could be broke through into the ordinary?
Get up, said Jesus, and don’t be afraid.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2011