Ah…things change!

“We remember the cucumbers, melons and leeks of Egypt….”

Numbers 11:5

I do, too. I remember the bliss of idyllic life at 542 Ada St. around 1960. I remember the perfect harmony around the dinner table and the abundance that was always there to be found.

richreading 20130502Don’t, please, look too carefully at the framed photo I have sitting on a small table in my home office. It’s me and my next two siblings – a shot taken about 55 years ago. We were on family vacation (always a fascinating adventure!) and are wading in some body of water in our (baggy) swim suits. We are three of the skinniest kids you’ve ever laid eyes on. Not quite to the point of malnourishment, but it’s obvious these three were unacquainted with the kind of abundance that apparently can lead to childhood obesity. The fact is, “seconds” were a rarity at our dinner table.

I mention this to guard against the temptation to harshness in my assessment of the complaint laid at the feet of Moses by the rabble he led out of Egypt into the Sinai wilderness. “We had it so good, Moses! Why, oh why, have you led us out here??”

Why? Well…. there may have been fish, cucumbers and leeks…. but for goodness sakes…. you were enslaved back in good old Egypt!!!

Nostalgia may be a pleasant anesthesia but it is destructive of adaptive growth. Here’s something we know without doubt: Things change.

I received a note from the chair of the Tri-Conference UCC Board earlier today – “Make sure the agenda for thus fall’s Annual Meeting of the Iowa Conference includes a vote on a call to the new conference minister.”

Wait a minute? A new conference minister? We already have a conference minister!

Ah…. things change!

The fact is, by this time next year the old conference minister will be nothing more than a flickering memory. “Wasn’t he that guy that screwed up……??”

Leaders DO matter, but only as means to important ends. Community life isn’t about leadership – community life is about meaning and service and justice and hope and reconciliation. Leaders – if they do well – help us get there, but it’s never about them.… it’s about the mission.

October 7 (the fall meeting of the Iowa Conference) may seem a long time away, but it’s not. It will be here in almost no time. And together we will make an important decision for the ongoing life, welfare and mission of the United Church of Christ in Iowa (and South Dakota and Nebraska, too).

I can hardly wait! Thanks be to God!
With the Greatest of Hope!

Rich Pleva
Conference Minister
UCC in Iowa

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