“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
March 15, 2012
Though one of the least stormy winters on record I still dream of sunshine warming my blood and daffodils appearing; even mud season would be a welcome relief. No doubt, winter will stretch on but eventually we’ll take the snow tires off the car, get the lawn mower tuned up, and begin spring cleaning.
This is true for the church, too. One of the annual spring tasks around the Waitsfield Church when I was its pastor was cleaning the church sign. You’d be amazed how much winter grime accumulated on it from its close proximity to Route 100.
And mold. Worship and Church School schedules and the pastor’s name were printed on removable Plexiglas strips attached to that sign. This was convenient since times changed during the year. (It also reminded me that my position as pastor wasn’t permanent!) Cleaning the Plexiglas became a rite of spring. Moisture slipped behind, mold formed, and it took on a greenish cast. I relished taking off those plastic strips and make them sparkling clean.
This spring ritual symbolizes for me what we must do periodically to be refreshed. Isaiah delivers God’s message: “Behold, I am about to a new thing.” However, we don’t often perceive that God is doing new things to, with, or through us. Further, experiencing newness requires that we do some spiritual spring cleaning — wiping the mold, clearing the cobwebs, shaking off the dust that can collect on us and our comfortable ways.
Every congregation in transition faces challenges. Naturally, there is uncertainty, anxiety, fear. Yet these moments also present opportunities to discern the newness God intends within and through our church. We saw this as we prepared for a pastoral search. Conversations about such things as Open and Affirming also serve as occasions for sensing God’s newness. So can decision-making about budget and staffing, such as the all-church meeting on Sunday, March 25. These challenging moments may yet bring blessings as we discern together the faith community God is calling us to be and receive God’s newness.
I look forward to continuing to discover with you a shared vision of the church that God wants us to be and participating in the joy that comes from living out that sense of calling.