I always find this time of the year to be particularly nostalgic. Summer is winding down, and these days, the mornings have a slight crisp to the air reminiscent of the upcoming fall. How is it that summer is already almost over? I wish I could hold on, but whether we are ready or not, the seasons come and go.
This season tends to be full of transitions. Even though I am no longer a student, fall always seems like the start of a new year! Kids are entering new grades at school. Some of you might be starting new jobs or different roles in work or life. Some of you have welcomed new little ones into your family. Some of you are saying goodbye to children as they leave for new schools in the fall. Some of you have been traveling to new places and some of you to old places. And at Epiphany, our program year begins with a bit of a homecoming for Rally Day on September 10. The calendars are starting to fill, and there’s anticipation in the air!
All of these are reminders of the passage of time, inevitably accompanied by change.
Now I don’t want to give away the whole sermon on Sunday, but the Old Testament lesson tells the story of two of my favorite Biblical heroes — Shiphrah and Puah. They are the Hebrew midwives who defied Pharaoh. They were ordered to kill all Hebrew boys. They did not follow these orders and allowed the boys to live. The scripture commends them for their faith! They are praised for their civil disobedience and resistance of abusive power systems.
As we know, the role of a midwife is to help birth something new (normally a baby). But what if we were to expand this imagery to our time together at Epiphany? I believe much of the church's work is to be like a midwife because the Spirit of God is always birthing something new. In the midst of change and transition, we are called as Christians to cultivate new life. Part of this role is relinquishing control, looking to areas where we might not normally look, and acknowledging that sometimes things will hurt. It’s not easy and not always comfortable! But the joy of new life is worth it.
We don’t know yet what this new year at Epiphany will hold. Perhaps this time next year, we can look back with gratitude at all the new life we cultivated.