September continues to bring the anticipation of familiar change. New school year, changes in weather patterns, and all that an approaching final quarter of the year brings.
In the church, our attention begins to shift to new schedules, new ministries, the church conference season, and we make plans for our All Saints, Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas celebrations.
Though the calendar continues forward, in many ways, there is the experience of being stuck and unsure about how to move forward.
This year, all of the customary changes of the season are not the same. We may be trying to practice familiar routines in order to create a sense of normalcy and well-being, however, we can’t quite manage it. There is an experience of instability, unease, grief, and even anger that we cannot will and work things back to a more familiar place.
Though it may seem we have only a modicum of control and influence over many of the challenging events around the globe and in our own neighborhoods — there are some things which we can choose.
We can choose life — the word of God given to the people in a time when a new generation was being called forth (Deuteronomy 30).
We can choose peace — as Christ offered to the fear-filled, anxious disciples whose world was turned on end (John 14).
We can choose faith, hope, and love — challenges from Paul to a forming community of Christ struggling to be civil and respectful and graceful as Christ teaches (1 Corinthians 13).
Let us choose to be the church, the body of Christ, even when (and especially when) our traditions and common practices shift and change. Let us be defined by our faith practices of life, peace, and love. Though John Wesley may not have written or spoken these words, I can hear him encouraging us today to Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
In Christ’s life, peace, and love