Health & Wellbeing

Spiritual Matters by Rev Chris Sparks 

Change that is needful

I don’t generally like change! There. I’ve said it. But change is inevitable. And some change is good!

Life throws us many a curved ball in the name of change – and challenges us to plug on regardless – a reality that led me to appreciate the sentiments behind a sign in the window of the head office of an old established English company: “We have been established for over one hundred years and have been pleasing our displeasing customers ever since” it read. “We have made money and lost money, suffered the effects of coal nationalization, coal rationing, government control, and bad payers. We have been cussed and discussed, messed about, lied to, held up, robbed, and swindled. The only reason we stay in business is to see what happens next!” 
Human interactions are clearly dynamic. We don’t all agree on everything, and we all have the right to express an opinion. If that opinion differs from our own, we can choose to respond in a number of ways. Some people will be happy to enter into a debate by arguing their side of the issue. Others will simply keep their opinions to themselves – particularly if the opposing point of view drips with emotion and has been expressed with a strength that invites a potential conflict.


I was taking the opportunity of some fine weather yesterday to enjoy a peaceful ride through some of my favourite countryside, on my Can-Am Spyder trike. It was a joy to be doing something I love – free from pressure of any kind. After meandering leisurely through a maze of single-lane sealed roads, nostrils caressed by the uniquely pleasant smells of rural Australia, and other road-users conspicuous by their absence, I turned for home on a larger road that did carry some traffic. While busy dodging some strategically-placed potholes on this road, I spotted a small dark object in my path. I missed it – but as it flashed by underneath the bike, I realized that it was a small tortoise – or turtle! This was not good. At any moment another vehicle could appear and hit the small animal. So, I quickly pulled over, turned around and went back to rescue the tortoise. As I approached, he looked up, and, despite my attempt to reassure him, he withdrew his tiny body completely into his shell. I picked him up, placed him gently on the grassy shoulder out of harms way and retreated to my bike – just as another vehicle sped past, wheels over-running the spot where the tortoise had been a moment before.

Is there a sense in which God put himself in harm’s way by choosing to cross the path mankind had paved for itself through history? I think Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he put his earthly life on the line for us. He knew it was dangerous, because his message was the message of love and salvation – and it flew in the face of those who had fallen out of love with their creator and were determined to do their own thing and forge their own path through life. But he took us on, refused to pull his head in, was temporarily cut down by those who hated him and his message, but within the space of three short days, quickly triumphed in his mission to change the world. And that’s change we really needed – and need.