Yet Another Genesis
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. Isaiah 43:19
Just a week ago, I was driving along interstate 84 on day two of my journey toward New England and the place I would call my physical and vocational home for the next year. Every so often on the trek across the entire state of Pennsylvania, the highway would bring me to a peak in the road and I could see stretched out across my field of vision the rolling hills of the Appalachian mountains. At one point I slowed way down in the right-hand lane and, when the area was clear, was able to snap a quick picture with my phone. It is probably the worst picture ever – think back to the days, for those who will remember, of the kinds of not-so-fabulous photographs inevitably taken with those Kodak disposable cameras. Blurriness and bad composition notwithstanding, I was able to capture in the frame two layers of tree-covered mountains in the far distance that establish a false horizon. And in the middle is the road, ever so clear in the foreground but curving to the left to disappear into a density of still-green foliage.
This picture invokes a feeling I had as I moved eastward toward Massachusetts – a feeling I have had many times before. There is a sense of familiarity that relates to other moves and many miles driven on other interstates with different mountains and trees. And with each journey there is the anticipation – both exciting and apprehensive – of a new beginning. Where will this trip take me? Who will I meet? What joys and sorrows lie ahead?
That uncertain and obscured turn in the road eventually brought me here to St. Paul, and revealed in the clearing were generous and friendly folk – you – who have welcomed me with kind words, with encouragement, and with much, much grace. I’ve already heard some of your joys and some of your sorrow, and I am grateful that those whom I have already met have offered the kind of unbridled hospitality that ensures new beginnings are also good ones.
As church, we know much about new beginnings, one of which is upon us this week as we begin our 2018-2019 program year. Young people embark on deeper learning about their Christian and Lutheran heritage, hard-working committees put into action creative visions dreamed about in prior seasons, and new goals are revealed that will continue the work that we are called to do as a community. And sooner than we can even imagine it will be December, and Advent, and the beginning of yet another church year where we can travel the road, together, to the manger, on to Calvary, and beyond to the sure and present hope of the resurrection.
At the beginning it may be too soon to think about the end, but I can already imagine flipping to that blurry photograph taken on the highway in Pennsylvania and remember that as the road turned to the left there you were with God’s love and God’s grace in your welcome and open arms. For those I have already met - Thank you! And to those I will get to know, I’m excited to meet you and learn from you. Here’s to our new beginning!