Change

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from? 
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber; 
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. 
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. 
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life; 
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121

Many times in our lives, things change. You may move to a new house or a new city or maybe even a new state. Friends probably come and go. Children grow up. People move on. Time moves forward.

In many cultures these changes are marked with rites of passage. In Judaism, children participate in either a Bar Mitzvah or a Bat Mitzvah in which they publically announce their faith and become adults. In Latin American cultures, at age 15, girls hold a Quinceañera. This party is celebrated to symbolize the girl changing from being a girl to being a woman. In the Aborigine tribes of Africa, boys between the ages of 13 to 15 spend a year of silence in the desert, alone finding their own food and water. When they return, they are considered men in their society.

Our culture however does not mark such occasions with dramatic ceremonies, yet we do have some rites of passage within our church. When a baby is baptized…when they receive their first communion…when they get confirmed.

Our society also has several rites of passage. When a baby gets his first hair cut…when they say their first word…when they take their first steps…when they go to school for the first time…when they lose their first tooth…when they make their first friend…when they move to Middle School and then to High School…when they learn the drive…when they have their first date…when they graduate High School…when they move out or go to college.

This past Sunday, I turned 16. To some degree, turning 16 is seen as a rite of passage. At 16 you are legally allowed to drive. While being able to drive myself feels freeing, I keep thinking about something they told us in drivers ed. Of the thirty of us who took the class, they said three will die in an auto related accident before they turn 18.

It’s a huge responsibility to be able to drive. On one hand it is freeing, it feels like I have more control over my life. On the other, it’s a burden. A burden to know that one foul move and I could kill myself or someone else.

Do you ever notice that? Whenever you get more freedom or more leeway or more flexibility you also get more responsibility. It seems that is the pattern of our world. With change, comes more to do... 
    -At 16, you are able to drive, but you must be responsible. 
    -At 18, you are able to vote, but must become informed to do so. 
    -At 21, you are able to drink, but must not cave to peer pressure. 
    -When you go off to college, you have to take care of yourself. 
    -When you start a new job, you are back to square one. 
    -When you move to a new house, you have to turn it into a home.

The pattern doesn’t seem to change.

Psalm 121 is all about change. It tells you that no matter what life may throw at you, no matter how it beats you down, no matter where you go or who you are, God will be there through the thick and the thin.

Things will change. Friends probably come and go. Children grow up. People move on. Time moves forward. But God’s love is unending and will never change. You can always put your faith in him and he will always deliver.

Dear God, thank you for being there for us. Sometimes it hard to see or hear your presence, but we can always trust that you will never leave us. We are so thankful for all of the blessings you give us and we have faith that you will continue to watch over and care for us. Be with each and every one of us this week as we come and go. Keep us all safe and sound, happy and healthy. In your name we pray, Amen!

Zach Herzog

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Andy Jorgensen wrote:
Zach,

You are very profound for a 16 year old young man. Great message.

God bless you,

Andy Jorgensen

Thu, July 16, 2009 @ 3:19 PM

2. Kim Turnage wrote:
I remember sitting at my grandpa's funeral, overcome with grief, when the words of this psalm entered my mind. There's something so powerful about the answer to the question that starts this psalm....my help comes from the maker of heaven and earth. Things change but the maker of heaven and earth stays the same....and he is with me through it all. Thanks for the reminder, Zach!

Thu, July 16, 2009 @ 3:43 PM

3. Carole Schumacher wrote:
The Amish have a time of change established for their young people known as "rumspringa" or running around time. Typically this begins around the age of 16 and ends when the youth either chooses baptism within the Amish church, or leaves the church community.

Even in those weird times of change and running away from God, it is a great promise to know that God will never leave us and he will never change. Thanks Zach!

Fri, July 17, 2009 @ 7:55 AM

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