Late August always feels bittersweet. I love summer, but this point in August teases that fall is coming and I can't help but be excited. Backpacks are on sale, stores are full of notebooks and pencils, new announcements and schedules come out. Fall manages to be the beginning of what’s new and next, but within traditions that feel like they haven't changed much since I was a child. Yes, it’s 85 degrees—but don’t you want to get out those sweaters and sharpen some pencils?
Biting at the heels of my enthusiasm for new program years and all-things-fall is that ubiquitous disquiet we’ve all learned to walk with; that anxiety that comes with yet another season of pandemic questions. What will this fall look and feel like? What can and can’t we do, and—now especially—how will we keep the children safe? Are we even up for another season of pivoting and experimenting? I think many of you are wondering these things, too. It is hard, friends; so very hard.
There are many thing that continue to look or feel different, here at church and everywhere, and there’s a lot we don’t know right now. But, somehow, at root most things will be the same as they’ve always been when we jump into this fall. We will celebrate the start of another year together. We’ll see how much the children have grown. We’ll congratulate each other on making it this far. We will sing and eat in every way we can (and never take those simple things for granted again!). We will smile, with our eyes in the sanctuary and our mouths outside. We will welcome newcomers as new friends; ask real questions; and offer community. We’ll read our old stories and tell new ones. We’ll sit quietly together, whenever we need it. Let’s not forget that even if some of our questions around how, when, and where aren’t answerable right now, we know who we are and what we do. We are a family who loves and serves God, each other, and our neighbors--in any and every way we can. Enjoy these last days of summer, and together let’s jump into fall confident in the love and sustaining hope of Jesus.