Homeostasis is the response in one part of a system that counteracts a change in another part of the system, hoping to restore the system to its previous state. Our world prefers stability and works towards maintaining it.
Some examples: when one part of an ecosystem changes, other parts of the environmental web adjust to restore stability. Our bodies work the same way: a fever is a homeostatic response to an undesirable change that occurs in our body. Our temperature increases temporarily in an effort to restore physical stability.
Relationship systems work the same way. We prefer continuity. The problem is: emotional systems are healthier when they remain fluid, dynamic and changing. People change and we do well to allow them to change without subconsciously undermining the process of transformation.
As a minister, I’ve seen this too many times in a group of people who should be entirely open to change: the church. Yet, too often when change is attempted, other parts of the system react out of their own discomfort in an attempt to keep the system in a state of stasis.
The Apostle Paul gives us a vision that runs counter to such homeostatic response: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into this likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, emphasis added)
When I read these words, a powerful image from a song composed by J.S. Bach comes to mind:
Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light,
and usher in the morning.
Ye shepherds, shrink not with affright…
We prohibit passage of the light of God into our hearts when we permit fear to dominate. Let the light break forth, church! Do not be afraid! See, our God is doing a new thing and it is good! So welcome the change of a new day and bid good riddance to the dark night.