If you go on the train down to London Liverpool Street, as you begin the last couple of miles of the journey and daylight is left behind for the covered world of the station, the conductor comes on over the intercom to declare that, ‘this train terminates here’. It makes everything seem so final. Much more preferable is the term ‘all change’, which does indicate that there is something more to come. When I was very young I remember riding on the tramcars in Sheffield. Yes, I know they have trams again now, but not proper ones like in the old days. When you arrived at the terminus, the ‘all change’ announcement would come, followed by the conductor flipping the backs of all the wooden seats so that they now faced in the opposite direction. Truly splendid!
Change happens all the time. In fact, we are meant to change. How uncomfortable it is when a moody teenager remains the same demanding petulant self, right through into adulthood, expecting everything be laid on a plate for them. We are meant to grow and mature into well-adjusted adults. My apologies for my many short-comings in this area!
Jesus handled change so well. Perhaps one of his most difficult yet understated moments came with a change of direction. In Matthew ch16 v21 it says, ‘From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.’ That is momentous change as Jesus embraces all that lies before him. But in John ch17 v1 as Jesus prays, he embraces this future by turning to heaven. After Jesus said this, he looked towards heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the hour has come.’ Change is often difficult; but as we turn our gaze to the one who has gone before us, he will guide and lead us through.