As we once again come to a new congregational year, I am thinking about renewal. In the face of the last three years, I know that many are hoping and wanting a fresh start. A new place to begin from. A sense of new beginnings and possibilities. There is a thirst for renewal.
I don’t know much as I start this new journey with all of you. But I do know two things about renewal.
First, renewal is not a return. It might in some ways mimic a return - a cycle of seasons, a re-start. But renewal is starting something new, which means change. So as we enter this new year together, know that it won’t look like the same kinds of worship services you have before the pandemic or the same kind of community. We are all changed. My presence is evidence of a big change. Let us start fresh, embracing that change.
And secondly, renewal, like all change takes work. New possibilities, imaginations, and frameworks do not come out of nowhere. The default for most people, and systems, is to return to what was, even if it wasn’t working. To truly start anew, one must go against practice habits and routines and commit to doing things differently. It takes work and transformation.
Renewal is not fast. It is not some instant reward of a fresh start or clean slate. Renewal takes the time to plant the seeds of growth and change, whose silent work will lead to the clean air of a new path and a new start.
I am grateful for the ways this community invests its time, leadership, and vision in cultivating a renewed fellowship. Let us together do the work of change, so we may embrace the joy and gratitude of the new year before us.