I see that all things come to an end, *
but your commandment has no bounds.
Psalm 119:96, from the lessons appointed for use on the Feast of Joseph Butler
All things change.
Joseph Butler's life, like the lives of many of the saints we commemorate, was marked by regular change. Key to our commemoration of him was his early change from Presbyterianism to Anglicanism. A change that I can appreciate, having completed it myself a couple years ago.
After his ordination, Butler served Rolls Chapel, Houghton-le-Skerne, Stanhope, Rochester (as prebendary) and Bristol (as bishop).
The year J.S. Bach died, Butler accepted the bishopric of Durham, but only after turning down the opportunity to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. There are some changes that we're just not willing to make.
A friend of mine is undergoing preparation to attend law school. I thought of him, and the change that he is making when reading the lawyer's response to Jesus in today's Gospel lesson:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
Change takes great effort, and for some of us more than others. There are those changes which we enact, and those that enact their way on us. But in both cases, there is generally some guiding principle of change. For the Christian, I believe it is precisely the wholesale dedication to God and neighbors which is to guide our motives.
Why did Joseph Butler change posts so much? If he really wanted to serve his parishioners, wouldn't he just have stayed put? Or, by loving God with his whole heart, soul, strength and mind, did he find that he was led to different positions in church leadership?
It seems that I may be preparing to jump ship from one seminary to another. (Take a look. I'm the "David" in the Arminian and yet Reformed Theological Seminary of Sjlbvdnzv.)
The Episcopal Church has called, and I am answering that call.
All things change and eventually come to an end, but the Word endures forever.
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