One aspect of military life that is constant for many is, if not all, is of change or a sense of moving on.  We deal with change and movement in our work; in what we do, and how we do it. The military acknowledges the fluid and challenging times we are in; newly emerging challenges to security that must be met with shrinking recourses of budgets and people.

We have more to achieve with less resources in unfamiliar environments. So we are all called to work in and with this new environment. Another aspect of change and moving on is the call to move from station to station and posting to posting. Often this involves taking our families with us and the removal of all our possessions from one home to build the next elsewhere.

Change can be disruptive, unsettling and stressful. Sometimes it is not welcomed and we would rather settle and stay where we are and with what we know. Staying helps us feel safe and secure, dealing with the ‘knowns’ of life rather than risk, unknowns and uncertainties that come with the new.

The struggle of moving and change is not new. There are many nomadic tribes who live in tented homes. They settle for a while; their sheep and animals graze on fresh grass for a short time before everything is packed up once again and they move on elsewhere.

Abraham, founding father of the Jewish faith, was one such tribal leader living this kind of life style. So the people of God first lived a wandering life style with their God, Yahweh. Moses took the Hebrews from slavery (in settled brick houses in Egypt) to live a nomadic life for many years before they entered the ‘promise land’ of Israel where they settled down in permanent houses. It’s when they settled that the trouble occurred!

People of faith know something of the ‘moving on with God’ in their personal lives. I see the Church struggling over whether to ‘move on’ faithfully or embrace change through new interpretations or insights of God’s love for today’s world. Examples of this include sexuality and the role of women’s ministry.

I believe that in ‘moving on’ we can be open to see the new as exciting, adventurous, challenging, opportunity, new beginnings, re-defining, re-inventing, liberating and invigorating. But for me personally, a call to walk with God into the unknown, is knowing that whatever happens I can lay the uncertainties of my future before a God who knows me, my purpose and my destiny. It helps me feel even closer to the author of my life; that’s relationship with God. Anything else I shall not fear if I but fear God.

As I talk about moving on I am reminded that it has come time for me to say a goodbye to you all at Coningsby. It has been a delight and privilege to work and live amongst you all. I shall take many fond memories of my time here and of the opportunities I have had in working alongside you here and in the far away places we have served together. I wish you all a fond farewell and prosperous and bright future. May God be with you in all you do. Happy journeying on!

Padre David C Haslam