A new program and school year has begun at Grace! The building, classrooms, hallways, offices, computers, and committees are humming with activity. Kinks in new academic software are being worked out, the facilities calendar is growing in length, and the newsletter and weekly announcements are filled to the brim with new and returning opportunities for faith formation, discipleship growth, learning, worship, and prayer.
I admit that, after the more relaxed pace of summer, the energy is both invigorating and a bit nerve-racking!
As is the case before anything new, I find myself reflecting on hopes and dreams for the months ahead. What can be done better this time? What doesn’t need as much attention? What needs more? What will be the convictions or passions that drive and define ministry at Grace? Where is God calling us to go? What is God calling us to be
I commend to our common reflections these words from Scripture. “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)
While the activity of making resolutions is more common as January approaches, I wonder if we might consider how our new life in Christ is beginning anew right now. As we begin to fill our personal calendars, have we considered leaving space for the Spirit to do a new thing in us? As our country prepares for another election cycle, on which voices will we lean and from what noise will we abstain? Who will we allow to define who we are? What convictions and passions will we exercise with both confidence in ourselves and respect for the other?
Because we are uniquely created and gifted for ministry one answer to these questions will not suffice. The hard work of reflecting on these things, however, begins to reveal to us that, indeed, the old life is gone and a new one has begun. There is one call upon our lives, though, that is constant for all of us: the people of Grace Lutheran Church and School are called to reflect the light of Christ into a darkened and hurting world.
We honor and remember how this congregation and community have done this important work in the past. We dream vivid and wonderful dreams of how our future will unfold. Then we engage our present with courage and energy hinging on the absolutely absurd promise-made-truth that we are loved by a God who will never let us go. Every day that you remember this is the day, the hour, the very moment your new life has begun again.
As this “new year” of life and ministry begins at Grace perhaps you might consider doing something new. How might the allocation of your time, your financial giving, and your stewardship of gifts reflect the new thing God is doing in your life? Look for and say “yes” to the volunteer or service opportunity that comes to your overflowing email inbox. Join a FEAST group and meet fellow faith sojourners. Risk introducing yourself to someone you see in the pews – even if they might have been a member longer than you. Serve. Rest. Pray. Worship. Learn.
But most importantly, do all of these things in the confidence that you have never, are not, and will never be alone. In baptismal waters you became Christ’s – and in Christ there is newness of life every single day.