A visit to an antique or second-hand store reveals the “in-between” way in which objects are categorized. An old tattered quilt, an incomplete set of dishes, a refinished chest of drawers, faded paintings and pictures that are too good to throw away - all of these items remind us that time passes, yet has not concluded. Likewise, an item’s worth can change: its value increases for some and it decreases for others. An in-between time, betwixt the beginnings and endings, the feasts and fasts . . .
In a way, that is what it is like when we head into September. As we continue in the Pentecost Season, we see a continued growth in faith, a time for building on the foundations that have been witnessed through the resurrection appearances. The biblical stories are familiar and well-wo0rn. They have tinges of memories associated with them. They have been heard before. Once in a while, there is something new and fresh, vital and surprising about the stories; more usually, though they are retold with a rehearsed expectation and familiarity.
September itself always brings about a number of changes. The seasons are marked by cycles of reversals; the stars shift in the sky; the natural world finds new ways of living. Likewise, school’s days begin or end, new calendar years are established, old patterns of living are undertaken. A cabin might be closed for the winter, new windows put up on the house, clothing styles changed - these marks of a shifting and transitional time.
Students and teachers begin again with clean slates and high hopes. The rest of us have spent enough years in school so that we, too, experience the coming of fall as a time of confident expectation and new beginnings. The return of those familiar yellow busses triggers an old instinct to sharpen a few pencils and buy a new box of crayons. Any hallway with freshly waxed tiles smells like hope.
Maybe this is the time of year to look once again to the simple nuances that contribute to a common faith. Perhaps it is the time of the year to visit those aspects of faith that are considered understood and agreed upon. That would give an opportunity to interrogate and discover anew the richness of a life lived within the church.
Jesus gathered people together, to shape both their understanding and their living - to form them as children of God. This is the task of the church . . . to shape individuals as individuals to help them form a community.
As summer comes to a close and we shift into our autumn schedules, church education programs as well as other committees and ministry groups begin again after their summer break. Time seems to speed up, and more and more people, excited and refreshed from traveling and vacations are around to take advantage of opportunities to learn and grow. New learning opportunities present us with a time of renewed discipleship. The more we learn and grow, we appreciate the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives!
Blessings for the Journey.