When Everything Changes

"Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change."

Mary Shelley

It’s Saturday morning. Or afternoon. The day is getting away on me and it’s hard to tell. So much to do to prepare for today’s event. Bridge Songs is coming. The ninth time we’ve done this and there is still stress. Rigth now that stress is focussed on a projector mount.

An attempt at a projector mount. Grace and I have never done this before. We balance precariously on a ladder two rungs too short. Then the expensive device starts to shift. Wobble. Slide. Fall.

In slow motion we watch it succumb to gravity. We are powerless, flailing limbs to break its fall. More likely, we have moved it into the worst possible position for impact. Lens corner first.

With the hit, a crack and a scattering of parts. Multiple pieces that existed in perfect hidden harmony are splayed across the wood floor like internal organs. I am no surgeon.

We triage the day and sacrifice our gallery opening to be sure the main event, over at St.Faith’s across the street, runs smoothly. We have no idea what we will do for the real opening next Saturday, now that this projector has died.

But we will do something. Our plans will need to change. Everything changes.

That phrase is pure clichè. It rings hollow until you are living it from the inside out. Until you must admit that the cliché is well-worn because it is true. There is just no better way to say this.

Everything changes.

None of this is about that projector, of course.

I had to salvage something of that expensive experience, so I scraped together a metaphor from the ashes. But a metaphor for what?

Well … everything.

Because now that the projector has died, we need to get one that will actually work in our situation. It wasn’t right for us in the first place, but change would cost us something and it was much easier to go with the poor solution that cost us nothing. That is always the easy way.

The easy way is rarely the right way. The right way forward almost always costs us something. It is uncomfortable. Painful, even.

Without growing pains, wouldn’t we all be a stunted four feet tall?

My church is changing. Maybe even dying. Our pastor has resigned. Our church has been falling through the air for a while now. Numbers decreasing. Slow motion descent. More burden placed on fewer people. Desperate attempts to stop the inevitable collision. But it seems brittle plastic has met the hardwood now.

Now we don’t get to choose whether or not we change. Now we change.

Some wounds need a salve, some need amputation. Eventually, that bandaid needs ripping off or things get ugly. Even if the ripping hurts.

Urban Bridge Church means the world to me. I love the place and I love the people and my whole life as it is would be different without this community. The Bleeding Heart Art Space, for one, would not exist.

Here’s the strange part. The part that surprised me when it leapt into my heart. I don’t want Urban Bridge Church to continue. I want it to die a beautiful, noble, seed-bearing death.

Our Church has always built bridges between Christ and Culture. That has defined Urban Bridge Church for nine years. We have been a place where you could safely wrestle with doubts. Where you could heal from the high pressure sales of evangelicalism. Where you could ask how faith could look in an alternate future. Where you could sit with that question for years.

Eventually you need to stand and go forward. Eventually you need to cross over. To get off that bridge and embark.

I look at my Bridge community and I see possibilities. Journeys ahead. Lives to be blessed by our hands. Lives on the shore.

I believe it’s time to get off of the bridge and invest all we have gathered here into other communities. Into our neighbourhoods and families and friendships. Into our workplaces. Into new church communities, and old church communities. It’s time to spread our questions and conversations and creativity far and wide. It is time for us all to find new places where we will come alive in new ways and learn new things we cannot teach each other.

Birds leave nests and caterpillars become butterflies and seeds become flowers and it is all difficult–painful even. Yet it is all transformative in ways we cannot predict or even dare to hope for.

And yeah, sometimes you just wish things would stay the same. Stasis is easier. Stasis is comfortable.

Take it from someone who is not so good at sitting still. Change is beautiful.

I’m shopping for an amazing new projector today. It’s going to make this weekend’s opening better than it could have been with that old technology. Maybe it will even make me glad for Grace and my insufficient height and motor skills. Probably not so much.

Everything changes. Some things must even die first.

Let us live in the glorious hope of perpetual resurrection.


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