Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that there is a time for everything. There are times for transitions such as moving from the world of a dependent child to a responsible adult. Romans 12:1-2 & 1 Corinthians 6:11 describe the most important transition, from sinner to Christian. Christians remove sin and add Christ to their lives during this transition. There are many reasons for removing something and most are not painful. However, removing a name from a church directory can cause a hurt that brings tears and heartache. Remembering the smiling face of one who has passed away fills your mind with wonderful memories while filling your heart with loneliness. Checking the box, "former member," due to church discipline not only evokes a deep sadness but brings questions, "Why didn't I see the warning signs?" and "What can I do now to help?" These removals either weaken our faith or cause our faith to be strengthened and involve transitions for a particular person as well as those around them.
Although the removal of a name due to moving away should be a happy occasion, it can still be difficult. Our mobile society almost encourages us to make new lives in different places. Living in a university town means members transitioning to post-graduate life in another location is a certainty. Some visit often while others may never return. Removals are challenging.
Luckily, some transitions involve additions that bring great joy. New members, whether college students, families relocating for work, or parents moving to be closer to children help us grow numerically and spiritually. Precious little lives that are brought into this world bring happiness and encouragement. Additions are strength-building and motivating.
Then there is rebirth, when a child of God is baptized into Christ. What an occasion to celebrate! This is the most important and meaningful transition of one's life. Members of the church family will offer help and support as the new Christian grows spiritually.
Oh yes, some transitions can be trying and even discouraging while others help us grow and mature. As brothers and sisters, we are to support each other through these times. Also, let us find joy in our additions and celebrate together. Because God is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, Numbers 23:19) we can find a peace during anxious times (Philippians 4: 6&7). May God grant us unity through all transitions (1 Peter 3:8).