A: The new year!
One might also say the School Year. Program wise for most congregations, the new year begins in September. Rally Sundays are being planned, Bible Studies and committees return to their regularly scheduled programming after a summer break. Worship leaders start to think about Thanksgiving, Remembrance Sunday, Advent and <whaaaaat?!> Christmas.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NRSV)
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
In some regards that is too true. There remains a rhythm to our years, an expected ebb and flow of time. Cycles of seasons and celebrations and remembering. We appreciate that, it is comfortable, reassuring, and reinforces our hope that God’s loving, forgiving and salvific nature is the same, yesterday, today and always. It can be dangerous too, leading to complacency and loss of relevancy in a world that is changing at a pace faster than even secular culture can keep up with.
While Ecclesiastes tells us nothing is new under the sun, the Creator and Re-Creator promises Isaiah something different.
Isaiah 43:19 (NRSV)
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
It is a new future for the people, one where inadequate systems fall away, and living water comes as the Christ to show creation the way back to a fully reconciled relationship with the I AM.
Prayerfully and with hope, may this coming church year bring something new, new perspectives, new revelations, renewed joy, new and deeper relationships, with God and with each other. Come join us.
Happy New Year!