Sunday, June 15, 2014

Punctuated Equilibrium

"Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.""

Those are the words of the first verse of Genesis 12, and they mark the beginning of a tremendous adventure.  Abram is in his own country, with his father and extended family, and God calls him and tells him to "go." 

I understand that equilibrium is a state of relative balance.  Things are holding together in a stable manner.  A force may be acting on something but the thing itself doesn't really change as a result.  There is a theory in natural history called 'punctuated equilibrium.'  It was developed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge and widely disseminated through the essays Gould wrote for Natural History for many years.  Applied to evolution, punctuated equilibrium means that changes to a given species did not happen incrementally over a great many years, but in short bursts of activity interspersed with long periods of evolutionary quiet. 

A brief aside: Gould was an unabashed and ardent Darwinist, with no toleration for anything but a scientifically orthodox view of creation.  I read several of his collected essays when I was not a Christian and found them engaging.  I recently read one of his books and was startled by his persistent disregard for any consideration of a divine hand in creation. 

Enough of the introduction….now to return to the topic at hand.

Abram lived in a state of equilibrium.  He was with his family, his flocks, doing his own thing.  And then God spoke into his life, saying, "Go."  God's call punctuated the equilibrium of Abram's life. As a result of God's speaking, nothing in Abram's life was the ever same.  And the path that God set Abram on led to the most glorious of destinations. 

Ripples of Abram's movement in following God's call are still felt today, and it was the privilege of myself, my family, and the congregation I serve as pastor to feel them this week.

Our congregation was host to a group of 31 people who had come to Dulce from Denver, spending the week here as a part of their own response to God's call in their lives. 

When God calls, people of faith follow.  Sometimes the call can be very dramatic, as with Abram, and other times it may be less so, such as the call to leave home for a time and serve God in another location.    

Last week was a very full one for me, occasionally bordering on chaotic.  The mission group punctuated the equilibrium of ministry in Dulce, with a powerful presence of God working through their hands and hearts. 

Now, in the quiet following the past week's activity and this morning's worship, I feel a sense of equilibrium returning.  And as I rest and reflect, I do so knowing that God will again speak, to me, to those who were here last week, and to all who follow Him in faith. 

And when I hear Him say, "Go" may I do as Abram did, trusting that He will always lead me to places that are better than any that I would have settled for, places that serve His purposes, to His glory.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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