‘The Times, They Are A Changing’
By Rev. Dr. Bob Henley
For those of us who grew up in the sixties, the music of Bob Dylan provided the soundtrack for our lives. In 1964, the year I graduated from high school, Dylan’s anthem, “The Times, They Are A-Changin’,” was released. The simplicity of his guitar and harmonica accompaniment, paired with the intensity of his voice and the message of his lyrics, awakened a generation and brought marchers and causes into the streets. The once solid walls of post-World War II status quo came tumbling down like Jericho. Now, we the aging boomers, are living through an even more disruptive time than in our youth. The times are indeed “a changing.”
For all of us, the past twelve months have been a time of change. It was just over a year ago, Sunday, March 15, 2020, that the emergence of a little known virus, from half-a-world away – COVID 19 –stopped life as we knew it, in its tracks, locally and globally.
Masks moved out of the operating room and became commonplace everywhere, perhaps with the exception of inside our homes. We were afraid to fly commercially, or stay in a hotel if we ran the risk of driving to our homes in other parts of the country. Plans for international travel and overseas trips were quickly cancelled. Beautiful cruise ships and riverboats seemed more like floating petri dishes to be avoided at all cost.
A new vocabulary emerged that described our interactions with one another – social distancing and working remotely. Elbow ‘bumps’ replaced handshakes and warm embraces with friends. Isolation became one of the grave emotional dangers, spawned by legitimate concerns for our health, amid the uncertainty of how we might expose or be exposed.
We all breathed a cautious sigh of relief as rapid progress was made in the development of an effective vaccine. How we welcomed standing in line at Carysfort Hall, waiting our turn for those wonderful friends, the volunteers who administered the vaccinations we hoped would provide protection against the virus. How grateful we are for the leadership of the Medical Center, the Club and ORCA Public Safety, in their efficient organization of this effort for all our benefit.
There are of course the heartaches that remain, because of those loved ones who have been lost to us during this time. This slow return to normal has an empty place in the hearts of many.
Today, we are grateful that life is slowly returning to whatever the ‘new normal’ will be. We can enjoy being in the company of others, and letting our ‘masks’ down, literally.
For those of us in the chapel, it has been a year of adapting, learning how to serve and be community together, within the limitations of the necessary restrictions in place. We have enjoyed our home for worship in the lobby of the Cultural Center. The Art League has provided an outdoor space for our children in our Kids Matter program. Many of our guest speakers and much of our special music has been prerecorded and projected onto the large screen.
Now, during the five Sundays in May, The Protestant Congregation will be having one service in the Cultural Center at 10 a.m. The Catholic Congregation will continue to celebrate the Mass at 12 noon each week. Please go to the website at orcchapel.org for further information about all the events taking place each week.
As Dylan said, change is an inevitable fact of life. But there is one great reality that can become our source of security, no matter what change may bring. It is this promise from the Scriptures. God assures us saying, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) That’s really good news, that won’t change. Faith is simply learning to trust in the One, who makes it true.