To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.Ecclesiastes 3:1
Dear friends in Christ,
All of us have seasons and liturgical schedules. All of us have habits and commitments and responsibilities — we have dedications and essential deeds all year long.
September reminds us of our schedule and purpose as a church, and our practices as individual Christians amidst the Body of Christ. Some items are old. Some are yet to be discovered.
God gave us the fourth commandment (the longest one), so the Hebrews established the Sabbath. The workers of the world (labor unions at one point) gave us the weekend. Our American school systems saw the need for agricultural workers in the summer, so classes run from sometime in the fall until May or June each spring. In Maine’s northernmost county some students still get time off to pick potatoes in October. Anyway, all of us have seasons and schedules and sabbath days.
Each September NHCC repeats its sabbath covenant with one another and with God. Each October we get busier, more engaged, and offer more programs, and then we hit quite a stride until about six weeks after Easter, and while we stay engaged, other liturgies offer alternatives: proms, graduations, office parties, family gatherings, garden plants, and then the long days of summer.
My own joy in ministry is to celebrate the seasons that we do have a joyful choir (you are invited to try it out this year…), a passel of Church School students, regular mission invitations, and so much more. That is, I honor our habit of summer sabbath, and I am so thankful for our seasons of faithful attendance, adult education, scripture study, and unexpected surprises.
You know the old joke: “How do you cause God to laugh?” Answer: “Make plans.”
It’s true. Think about recent times alone: No one expected Covid; no one expected Russia to start a war; no one planned any parish so reliant on technology, such as Zoom meetings and even online pledges. But by giving us Sabbath, by giving us a purpose, by giving us each other, God can smile and say, you planned for some things, but you have risen to the call of the surpries, good and faithful servants.
To keep God smiling, here are some plans for this year. Finish the organ restoration. Attempt the creation of a children’s/youth choir. Welcome a challenge from our Mission Committee almost each month. Welcome a new staff colleague to the CE classrooms. Offer a renewed Adult Education schedule. Welcome the Reverend June Cooper to our pulpit again. Consider an outdoor space-use vision, including a memorial garden. Complete Confirmation. Remember the saints, prepare the way during Advent, light candles on Christmas Eve, share communion, counsel with confidentiality, and assemble with new members. Of course there’s more, but those are the core elements of our schedule and commitment here this fall.
If you notice, all of these plans take more than one person, if not a group. All of our mission and worship takes a congregation. Which also makes God smile. Seeing how, in a world of unexpected disease and war and demands — how we find a way to work together for the health of this assembly, but (and this is our deep purpose) for the glory of God, eternally.
See you back in church,