In 1964 Bob Dylan sang, ‘The times they are a changin’’
It was an important song because it heralded the many changes that the 60s brought – and it was one of the first songs that I learned to play on my guitar.
It is a song that was both influential at the time, and also prophetic about the future, as since then many changes have come, and often gone, in so many areas of life.
The current situation has made us stand back and consider what changes are coming as a result of the coronavirus.
Throughout my life I have been through many times of personal change – leaving home, getting married, being a parent, getting a new job, responding to personal faith, becoming a church leader, responding to an OFSTED inspection, becoming a grandparent, retirement, coronavirus…
In recent years, as roles and responsibilities have changed I have been required to ‘pass on the baton’ to my successors. In school that has been about good transitioning; in church that has been, as St Paul said on more than one occasion, ‘What I received I also pass on to you.’
I was recently challenged by a lady called Emily Owen. Diagnosed at 16 with neurofibromatosis she has had many surgeries and disabilities. On facing changes she says:
“Part of my life-race has been learning to pass the baton on to myself. As surgeries erode my abilities, hopes and aspirations, I have learned – and am learning – to let each ‘me’ be part of the race. To be generous enough to myself to pass the baton to where I am.’
May we all be generous as we pass the baton to ourselves in changing times; may we ‘run with patience the race marked out for us’.