Fall is about concluded, but it is our favorite time of year. Dawn and I were married in October. One of our first dates was a long horse ride together in the colorful autumn mountains of central Pennsylvania. Many of our outdoor activities are enriched by the fall colors. There’s nothing quite like paddling a canoe across quiet water dotted by fallen leaves. And it is such a vivid reminder of the changes of seasons, which often evokes personal reflection.
The view from my office window that overlooks the pond is something I try not to take for granted, particularly when the leaves are changing. This year, it seems as though the colors were more vivid than in recent years. I have wondered to myself, “Is this because we are on the other side of the past three years and all of the complications resulting from Covid and its interruptions to our normal rhythms of life?” or “Does it seem more vivid because I’m actually stopping to look more intently this year?” I’m often struck by what we miss in life when we are not looking. Or maybe it’s just that there was enough moisture and the conditions were just right to make the colors more magnificent. Whatever the cause, I enjoyed it immensely.
As we head into another seasonal change, I am mindful of the seasons of change we face as part of life. Whether it be aging, loss, births and marriages, vocational shifts, or changes in our health status, life deals in change. I’m also mindful of the changes we face in the human world around us: cultural and political and economic changes, social changes, changes in public sensibilities, changes in values, and changes in the way we receive information and process information. It is cliché but no less true that change is the one constant in life, as Solomon testifies to in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Some seasons and changes we celebrate and rejoice over; others, we lament. Wisdom is having the right perspective.
It is this issue of perspective regarding change that has me thinking this season. I’ve always been leery of those who embrace change for change’s sake, as well as those who are averse to it on the face of it. Change simply is. What we have to do is determine what changes are to be embraced and what changes are not to be embraced. Where do we celebrate? Where do we lament? Where do we draw lines and for what reasons? Where do we make adjustments in order to carry out our work and be effective? These are questions we ask in our lives, and questions we ask as an institution committed to the centrality of Christ and His authoritative Word. We serve an unchanging God whose truthful word endures forever. He is also a God of new beginnings, new birth, and transformational work in the lives of His people. The changing of seasons, and change in our lives in this world, is a constant. What great encouragement there is that our God is the constant who created and sustains all that is. I trust this issue of the magazine will bless and encourage you, and you will see in and through it the things that are changing and the things that will not. I trust that you will see God, who is the same yesterday today, and forever, about the work of transforming lives and shaping the next generation of Christ’s servants.