September: the beginning of a new school year. As a teacher, I always looked forward to setting up my classroom, learning the names of new students, and planning curriculum. I may have been exhausted when we ended in June, but I always began the year excited, optimistic, and curious about what lay ahead. Students were also excited. I taught most of my students two years in a row, and I noticed that even children who had struggled the year before would return eager and hopeful. I was amazed at how often the blessing of a new beginning allowed children (and teachers) to right relationships, blossom academically, or discover a passion. Every September brought new anxieties and challenges, too, but we faced them with energy and creativity.
September is the beginning of a new "program year," at church. Sunday School and Bible study begins; the choirs learn new anthems; the Elder Diner and REACH programs start a year of programming, recipes and outreach; the Deacons plan ways to lead us in caring and service. This year we also have the adventure of celebrating our 125th anniversary, and new officers begin their work. It's an exciting time.
The new school and program year also reminds us that in Christ, every month is September: that at any time of the year (or month or day) we're invited to accept the blessing of a new beginning. We're invited to accept the love and forgiveness offered in Christ so we can let go of that part of the past that weighs us down. We're invited to turn to a life of deeper faith and commitment. That may be as simple as coming to worship every Sunday or saying a prayer of thanksgiving each morning. It may mean coming to a Bible class, joining a committee, welcoming new folks at coffee hour. It may mean volunteering to host a homeless family or bringing in food each month for the crisis ministry. It may mean forgiving someone close to you or asking forgiveness. The possibilities are rich and endless!
As we gather together after summer travels and rest, I hope and pray that we may all feel that back-to-school excitement and hope. I'm looking forward to my second year at Summit, and remain grateful that the Spirit brought us together.
Grace and Peace,