?One of my all-time favorite songs is Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road”. It’s a song about change – how scary it is, how hard it is. In classic Springsteen fashion, the song is a story about the Boss rolling up to a young woman’s house in his ‘beat up Chevrolet”. As the song opens, he’s just pulled up to her house and Mary has come out to her front porch. She’s looking down at him, standing by his car, and he’s inviting her to come with him. He’s come to take Mary away from the dusty beach town she lives in – you sort of get the sense from the song that it’s a small town where no one really ever leaves. There’s nothing there for Mary, but Bruce knows she’s anxious about leaving.
“My car’s out back if you’re ready to take that long walk from your front porch to my front seat. The door’s open but the ride it ain’t free.”
?Friends, there have been several moments in my life where it feels like I’ve come to a crossroads and those lines have haunted me a little. Because the distance from the front porch of a house to the front seat of a car isn’t significant. We’re not talking a marathon here, or even a 5K. This is a distance measured in feet, not miles. Probably not even yards.
?And yet the Boss calls it a “long walk”. Because for Mary to leave the porch means she’s leaving behind everything she calls home. She’s letting go of her friends, her family. She’s walking away from her history. We don’t know too much about Mary – whether her home is loving or cold. Whether she’s the homecoming queen or the class reject. What we do know is that she has a history, a story that’s written on the streets of this town, in the beams of this house. Like all of us, Mary knows what she knows. And the Boss’ offer here is both tantalizing and terrifying.
?It’s hard to walk away, even when what you’re leaving isn’t good or healthy. It’s hard to do something different especially when it’s not clear what that different thing is. The Boss didn’t give Mary an itinerary. He’s inviting her to get in, to follow him into the night. He’s asking for an act of faith.
?Friends, we’re on the cusp of a major change here, too as a church. And I know many of us are experiencing change at the personal level, too. Let’s explore how to navigate change through faith.