A Fresh Start
Andrew was playing kick ball with his cousins. Grandma watched from her rocking chair on the porch, enjoying the game. Eventually, 3-year-old Andrew came running over and asked her to join in the fun. "Oh no," Grandma answered. "I'm too old for that."
Andrew looked searchingly into her eyes. "Grandma," he asked. "When were you ever new?"
Becoming new is something many of us long for. Maybe we're bored with the life we’re living. Maybe the job has become a drag. Maybe our body is aging in ways we find disturbing and irksome. In ways little and large, we want to be "new" again.
Even in our spiritual lives, perhaps especially in our spiritual lives, we long for renewal, re-creation, a new start. Our prayers seem to ping against the ceiling. Reading the Bible is a chore instead of a joy. Worship feels like Introduction to Calculus instead of a celebration. The intimacy we once felt with God seems to have slipped away in the night when no one was watching. Will that sense of connection to something, to Someone beyond ourselves ever return?
In the old days, we had revivals, periodic opportunities to "rescue the perishing” and revive the faltering spirits of the faithful. Yes, sometimes the music was a little smaltzy and the Evangelist too loud and predictable. And in time, television and the increasing pace of life put an end to this waning expression of religious devotion. But at least revivals pointedly raised John Wesley's question to every member of the fellowship: "So how is it with your soul?"
No, we're not planning a Fall Revival at the top of Poplar. But this Sunday, "Fresh Start Sunday," is a frank acknowledgment of our need, our longing for renewal. The summer is ending, school is back in session, the church is stirring back to life. It’s time for us to gather in the confidence the Holy Spirit will breathe new life into who we are and who, with God's help, we might yet become.
Kyle Matthews, our worship leader for Fresh Start Sunday, is a uniquely gifted composer, singer, and minister. He will weave a tapestry of word and song that proclaims the Good News of Jesus in refreshing and riveting ways. Kyle will "sing the sermon" on Sunday morning and then offer a sacred concert to our church and community Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. Having heard him several times, I can attest: this balladeer of the Spirit can crack the hardest of hearts. And tears often flow as new beginnings stir to life in the broken places.
We belong to the One who promised, "Behold, I make all things new!" (Rev. 21:5). This Sunday even more than most, we will gather in hope and expectation that promise is true.