“Facing Change with Faith and Trust,” the Lenten season Sunday series led by Pastor Rachel Tune, is coming to a conclusion, but personal changes are not. The four part series comprised of the following topics: “Change of Season,” “Change of Habit,” “Change of Heart,” and “Change of Plans and Perception.” The series was designed to help students with personal growth in the ever-changing aspects of their lives.
“Change of Season” focused on the changes that occur as people’s lives go through “seasons,” and how to deal with these changes. “Change of Habit” discussed how people let their habits get between their relationships with God or with others. “Change of Heart” reminded those present about God’s forgiveness. And “Change of Plans and Perception” handled the issue of people feeling isolated in times of trial, questioning where God is, and reiterated that God does not leave anybody’s side.
“It’s not a positive or a negative; it’s a reality and what we do with it is what matters,” Tune said about people’s growth in times of change. “Who you are is going to define change…the word development is about change, and transforming lives. We’re all dedicated to the work of change here.”
Alongside the four-part series, Tune also chose speakers for chapel hour to go along with this theme of change and faith. Last Tuesday, Dr. Emlyn Ott visited Wittenberg for her speech “Mobilizing a Community to be Challenged and Thrive in Times of Change.” In her talk, Ott challenged audience members to think about their personal changes and sources of anxiety.
In discussing anxiety, Ott showed that allowing it to consume one’s thoughts in the stressful times of change leads to detrimental effects. She highlighted the idea that “anxiety propels f words – fight, flight, freeze, fuse, frenzy, fornicate” and she added another – “food.” These are commonly referred to outlets for those under great amounts of stress, which causes both physical and emotional harm to one’s body and mind.
Ott encouraged all in the audience to rethink the changes in their lives and put them in a positive light. “Be aware of God’s love for us,” she said, “and respond in grace.”
Tune selected Ott to speak at Wittenberg because of her emphasis on managing anxiety and stress responsibly. She said that she felt Ott’s speech would have an impact on college students because of the high stress during this crucial time in young people’s lives. Higher education, coupling with the change within students, is ever-growing through its advancements in technology and series such as this Lenten celebration.
Tune turns to God to find a way through growth. “Given hope, help can change our feelings about change…we can see God in the middle of change and that God’s always working in us. We’re not going into that alone.”
Tune said she was inspired to have this focus of faith and change during Lent because of the reason for the Easter season: a time of change and repentance. “God is there throughout our suffering…He is right there with us, with peace and victory.”