Yesterday, my youngest child asked me one of those seemingly random, out-of-nowhere questions that five year olds often ask: “Dad, what is the future?”
It’s a profound, existential question that caught me off guard but I was pretty proud at how fast I came up with an answer: “The future,” I said, “ is things that haven’t happened yet.”
Children are sometimes able to take these big questions and make them sound so simple. And, if parents are lucky, the children are satisfied with the answers. Micah accepted what I said and moved on with his day. When Children ask questions like these; questions that might seem daunting or overwhelming, their asking gives us adults an opportunity to answer for ourselves.
The days and weeks leading up to September are filled with wonder about the future. For those with school-aged children, the new school year is just beginning with questions about new teachers and new classrooms and new subjects and new friends.
For us mainline, New England Protestants, the church year has many of the same rhythms of the school year. Attendance in July and August dips as many of us take a sabbath from church to travel or rest.
But now it’s September and our programs and ministries begin to ramp up again. As we look forward to the coming months, we may also be wondering about the future.
As we gather to remember and participate in traditions we’ve experienced for years, we’re also blessed with the opportunity to sing a new song – to make new music (literally and figuratively).
I believe that God has done great things at MCC. (Can I get an Amen?)
We come together as a church to worship God; to sing to the Holy One, to bless God’s Name, to proclaim God’s salvation, declare God’s glory God’s marvels.
We gather here to learn about – to sing about – the life and death of Jesus that invites us into co-creating a world of difference and about the gift of God’s Sprit lifts us up and sustains us.
We come together as a church to sing songs of praise and thanksgiving; and songs of faith and fellowship but also to sing songs of question and doubt.
We gather here to sing songs that are different – different from the “nations” that exist outside of these walls.
The gods of the nations are nothing, they don’t exist—
but the Holy One created the universe.
In God’s presence are splendor and
in God’s sanctuary power and beauty.
When the “gods of the nations” are trying to rule us through fear, we will sing songs of that remind us about what love is bringing.
When we feel increasingly isolated and alone, we can gather in God’s sanctuary of power and beauty, finding support and comfort from our church community.
As the world tries to label us and divide us, we can gather here, finding commonality in our differences and blessings in our diversity as we learn to see Christ in others who are different from us. (Amen?)
We gather here to sing songs that are different, to tell a story that’s different; old songs and stories that we know so well and new songs and stories that God continues to write.
As our new church year begins, there are changes from years past. Our church community transforms as we’ve said goodbye to old friends and as we welcome new ones. As we sing a new song to the Holy One, God is composing new songs at MCC.
The Spirit continues to lead us on new paths. This summer, just when we reached a point in the search process when we wondered if the organ would stay silent, if there would be no music this fall, MCC’s path converged with Seth’s. We look forward to hearing the ways that God will be made known to us through the music ministry that Seth will lead.
Last year, we welcomed Rachel Williams to lead our Youth Choirs and Stephanie to lead our Youth Ministries. Their songs continue to be written as they enter their second year, they’ve experienced a full year of programming and ministry.
They’ve developed an understand of “how we’ve always done it” and now they are ready to use their gifts to create new ways for our children to explore their faith – a new future firmly rooted in MCC’s past.
Over the summer, we’ve had new visitors who have discovered MCC, who have heard about the ways that God is at work here. Individuals and families who have reached out to us and who we welcome with open arms as their path crosses ours and as their voices become part of our songs.
God is present at MCC. Amen? God is doing wonderful things here. Amen? We’re excited to see what God has in store for our future. Amen? You’ll each invite 5 friends to church this year. Amen?
Let the heavens be glad; let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar and all that it holds!
Let the fields exult and all that is in
Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy at the presence of the Holy One,
Come Christians join to sing. This is a day of new beginnings. Our Creator is composing new verses to our song; Christ our guide and friend is with us in our hope and wonder and in our fears and doubts; the Holy Spirit is daring us to find new paths and to write new songs.
Come Christians join to sing! Sing to the Holy One a new song! Come Christians join to sing! This is a day of new beginnings, our future starts now!
Can I get an Amen?