12.12.2008

unchanging

Immutable -- adjective -- unchanging over time or unable to be changed.

Its comforting to think that there is something constant in our world of change and uncertainty. As we watch new political possibilities open up only to be swallowed whole by economic turmoil that seems to defy our predictions and strategies, it is comforting to cling to St. Theresas prayer: "Let nothing disturb you, nothing distress you. All things fade away. God is unchanging."

It's possible, though, to let this idea of constancy become a prison of its own -- for us or for God. Some use this concept to freeze God into a place that is safe for them, to insist that this interpretation or that doctrine is unable to be changed. For others, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8) becomes a way to insist that Christ is locked in history at a safe distance from us, and would have nothing new or specific to say to us, here and now.

God's immutability is real. God is and always be who God has been: Creative. Gracious and merciful. Powerful. Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We can be confident that God is not like the weather, stock market, or the political winds, that seem to lurch to and fro in reaction to new conditions, nor is God like so many of the people we deal with daily -- like us! -- who move easily from support to self-absorption, from generosity to manipulation.

We can trust who God is, and know that God always deals with us where we are, as we are, right now. Things seem uncertain and fearful and new to us, but God knows them and walks with us through the apprehension and terror and novelty of it all. It's very comforting to know that *that* doesn't change.

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