” . . . must be changed . . . “

“Listen to this secret truth: we shall not all die, but when the last trumpet sounds, we shall all be changed in an instant, as quickly as the blinking of an eye. For when the trumpet sounds, the dead will be raised, never to die again, and we shall all be changed.  For what is mortal must be changed into what is immortal; what will die must be changed into what cannot die.  So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: ‘Death is destroyed; victory is complete!'”  (I Corinthians 15:51-54)
I’ve been spending a lot of time in cemeteries lately, and this dead cone flower stem got my attention.  Earlier this summer it’s beautiful petals attracted numerous insects and hummingbirds to its nectar.  Its display of color and symmetry brightened my mornings as I passed it on the way to my car each day.  (And each morning I got a bit of satisfaction from the knowledge that the fact the flower was still there meant I had defeated the deer one more night.)  Now the drying stem is waiting for me to snip it off and leave it in the garden for mulch and fertilizer for next year’s blossoms.  Another change is coming . . .
Throughout my life I’ve been warned, invited, tempted, and cajoled to change.  Some change is easy.
    Them:  “Here, try this brand of coffee.  You’ll like it.”
    Me:  “Okay.”
Other change is not so easy.
    Them:  “You need to lose fifty pounds.”
    Me:  “Ugh”
Some change is healthy.
    Them:  “Eat this new apple variety. It’s sweet and juicy.  You’ll love it.”
    Me:  “Thanks.  You’re right it’s great.”
Some change is not so healthy.
    Them:  “Try our new extra creamy ice cream with double caramel swirl and sugar-coated pecans.  You’ll love it.”
    Me:  Okay

I guess most change requires investigation, discernment, decision-making, and will-power.  I’m told that if I want change then I have to make it happen.  However, as I ponder the plight of the flower stem in my photo I’m reminded that there is some change that is beyond me.  That flower stem is dead.  It has no ability to change from its current state of existence into the nutrients that will help life flourish in new plants (and the deer that eat them from our flower garden).  In the case of this decaying flower I guess we call the agent of change, “the forces of nature,” but what we really mean is the loving power of the same Spirit of God that moved across the waters and changed chaos to creation.  The most important changes are not of my doing, but rather, of God’s design and doing.  Like the flower, that means my birth, death, heavenly transformation, and everything else in between.

Before I can change, I need God to change my heart.  When facing the need for big changes in our lives we survey the situation, but often neglect the most important step – the first step, acknowledging that we need God to change our heart.  This first act of humility sets the stage for the rest of change. Once more I’m reminded, God is in charge, and I give myself over to God’s mystery of change and creation.  I pray that God will always help me remember to ask, “Holy God, change my heart.”  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on September 2, 2015.

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