Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

Everything Must Change: 2020 New Year Greeting

January 1, 2020
Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

By: The Right Rev. Carl Walter Wright

Greetings in this New Year of Our Lord 2020. Please forgive me if you have seen a similar message before; but these thoughts came to me this time last year and, as near as we can tell, were never shared with you. I hope they will inspire you.

A soulful song popularized by the late Nina Simone says:

Ev’rything must change; Nothing remains the same.
Everyone must change. No one and nothing remains the same.

The young becomes the old. Mysteries do unfold…
‘Cause that’s the way of time: Nothing and no one remains the same.

There is so little in life you can be sure of…Except the rain comes from the clouds,
Sunlight from the sky, and, Hummingbirds do fly!

Those of us who are in Federal Service are drawn to the perceived stability and permanency of our government. We trust our elusive job security. We crave comfort and predictability.

Yet, if we stop to think about it, as in our Episcopal Church. so in our government “everything must change.” If we hang around long enough, we see uniforms change. Policies and regulations change. Our cost-of-living increase varies depending on who is in the Commander-in-Chief seat. Even our benefits, which recruiters originally told us would never change, change!

All this belies our tenaciously held beliefs that things shouldn’t change. Remember the old adage, “we’re from the government and we’re here to help you?!” Well, I’ve always replied, “the only people who say that, and actually mean it, are the Chaplains! (Just kidding.)

In spite of our sacred cows and things we’d like to hold onto, we know in our hearts that everything must change. Change is an essential part of this earthly life. We know in our hearts that “there’s little in this life we can be sure of –not even the rain, the sun and the hummingbirds quoted above; only Almighty God! Only God “changeth not; his compassions they fail not; great is God’s faithfulness!”

With that in mind, I wish you well on this ultimate symbol of change, New Year’s Day. God grant that we see every change not as a threat but as an opportunity to grow in grace and be better missionaries for Christ! God grant that, “in all the cares and occupations of this life, we may never forget that we are walking in God’s sight (BCP 57).”

The Rev. Ann Ritonia

Bishop-elect for Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

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