• Guest Contributor

Change

Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, is famous for saying, “No person ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and they are not the same person”.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics is about entropy in how the cosmos works.  Each new day seems to bring about yet another grey hair upon my head on in my beard. Whether it’s ancient Greek Philosophy, modern science, or the mirror we are brutally aware that everything is changing.  


To be honest there are few things in life that evoke more anxiety than change.  Nothing makes me feel more weak, powerless, and vulnerable than change that I can’t control.  So much of how we live, so much of how our society is constructed, seems to be aimed at addressing this existential anxiety.  Our culture fetishizes the young and beautiful, we amass wealth in things called “securities” (as one example), and we find peace of mind in the knowledge that no other nation on earth has ever had more power to wage war that our’s.  I hope you see the contradictions.  None of these things can really halt change and none of them can really give meaning to what is about to come.  All of these things are superficial ways of assuaging our sense of vulnerability, weakness, and powerlessness.


My hope is that there is a blessing in this pandemic.  Maybe we can see that the values that our culture celebrates are silly, immature, and idolatrous.  Beauty, wealth, and war can’t do a thing to do anything about this moment of change.  I write this not because I have an answer but because I’ve become keenly aware that I don’t need to have an answer to the problem of change.  My prayer lately has been Psalm 46.  This Psalm is most famous for verse 11, “Be still and know that I and God!”  In the midst of this pandemic this Psalm has become much more meaningful for me.  I’d like to share with you a very lose translation that expresses what this Psalm has come to mean to me.


Only in God can we find real safety and security, 

God is always with us when we are anxious and stressed.

When the foundations of our world crumbles 

and everything we though was permanent becomes shaky and falls apart

Even if the majority of the planet changes and become chaotic we can still find peace with God.


Our community now has learned to find pleasure in the most basic blessings

and God’s power is shown among such simple joys.

God is still with us; God won’t crumble

God will always be with us even when things change again.

Even if war and inequality happens they will eventually come to an end,

God will bring an end to all evil things.

the God of true power is with us

the God that Jacob, our ancestor in faith, loved is our safety


Come and see how powerful God is

see how He opposes the evil that ravages the world

God is the one who will end war and inequality

God is constantly trying to destroy all our weapons

God opposes all of the ways that so many are oppressed

“Be still, and know that I am God!

I am more powerful than your corrupt politics

I am greater than your divisions

all of creation will trust me some day soon”

the God of true power is with us

the God that Jacob, our ancestor in faith, loved is our safety


I look forward to that day.  I hope that maybe this pandemic helps us wake up to how God is trying to lead us to the future of peace and justice that God has promised.  This is the way that I’m wresting with the anxiety that comes with the upheaval of this moment.



Father Peter Tremblay has been the Associate Chaplain for Catholic Life since 2016. He is a member of the Franciscan religious community and was ordained a Catholic Priest in 2012. Peter served as an associate pastor at St. Paul Church in Kensington, CT as well as a theology and philosophy teacher at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, MD.  

Peter earned a Masters of Divinity degree from the Washington Theological Union in 2011. He works hard to advance the multifaith work of the Truitt Center especially Jewish and Catholic interfaith activities.

Contact: ptremblay@elon.edu

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