A Hatful of Change

Kevin Arndt
By on April 30, 2024

The story is told about a woman who was walking on a stormy beach with her husband when a great wave fell onto the shore and swept him out to sea.

The woman cried out, “O God, O God, please, please give me back my husband!” Sure enough, moments later, another giant wave crashed and swept across the beach, and there, soaked and thrashing about at her feet, was her dear old husband, wet but no worse for wear.

The woman raised her eyes up towards heaven, her arms lifted high, and with a loud voice cried out to God, “He had a hat, you know!”

I guess that’s gratitude for you.

Change is hard. Whether it’s change that we’ve prayed for, or cried out for in a moment of desperation, change is still hard. Perhaps it’s human nature, but I think it’s often easier to spot what is missing when transformation and change comes around, than it is to be grateful for the new, unfamiliar path the universe has opened before us – even when it’s a path that’s desperately needed. Understandably, sometimes, we just want our hat back.

As we draw nearer to Diocesan Synod, I find my thoughts drifting to the many familiar patterns and recognizable structures I knew as a young priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. There is much we have had to leave behind, as we’ve collectively answered God’s call to be the Church in this time and place, and to pursue new directions, a “new life.” What parts or patterns of the Church do you miss today? And what were you glad to leave behind?!

Kootenay is not the same Diocese as we were when Synod was last constituted in-person, in 2018. The Church has changed. The world has changed. We have all changed. The truth is, we lose things in transformation. But we gain things too. “Unless a grain of wheat drops into the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). This is our calling as Christ’s Easter people.

Resurrection means we might not get our hat back. We might not get back our dream, or our hope, or the comfortable, familiar ways we long for. In fact, our new, resurrection life might not look like anything we’ve ever seen before! But a new life will come, and it will be good, and God will be there, through and through. Like most truths in scripture, this is so easy to say, and so hard to live out, every day.

We can, I believe, take some comfort in the fact that even Jesus’ first followers did not recognize him after the resurrection. When Mary met Jesus on Easter morning, she thought he was the gardener! For me, there’s a simple lesson in her story: don’t let the Christ you are looking for, blind you to the Christ that stands right before you. It takes time and Easter eyes to recognize God is still with us, as ever, but in a new and resurrected form.

One last hat story. There’s a saying that is attributed to Pablo Picasso; it’s probably apocryphal, but I love it, nonetheless. “Tradition is NOT wearing your grandfather’s hat. Tradition is begetting a baby.” My hope for us, as we gather in-person at Diocesan Synod this year, is that we will not mourn too much our lost hats, but will instead come together with all the enthusiasm, openness, excitement, and joy we know is present in the Spirit of making babies!

Shalom, my friends.



  • Kevin Arndt

    The Rev Kevin Arndt serves the parishes of Christ Church, Cranbrook and St Paul, Golden

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