Rector's Ramblings April 5, 2017
Last week I had to miss the Community Seder in order to attend Middle School Orientation with Eva. We didn’t get notice until Monday of that week that orientation was being offered, but once the notice came, I knew that’s where I needed to be. Middle School is a big deal. For rising fifth graders and also for their parents. I honestly don’t know who is more apprehensive about Middle School; Eva or me. This is on par with the start of kindergarten; the first time you let them go all day to big kid school and recognize they are growing up. Middle School is the next level, although admittedly not the last.
Part of my apprehension is that Middle School was the worst part of my educational experience. My growth spurt didn’t hit until the end of Middle School/beginning of High School, and I was bullied a bit during that time. It was Middle School that introduced me to a group of boys who were not the most healthy peers for me to count as friends. And then there is all the hormonal stuff that goes on in both boys and girls as they mature physically. I know Eva is not me, and yet I have had to work to keep my lingering feelings about my own pre-teen years from coloring how I help her journey through hers.
To their credit, the folks at Glynn Middle did a fantastic job with the orientation. I know fully why they do it the way they do. Other first time Middle School parents are nervous, too, and the orientation helped me, and I assume other parents, know that my baby girl will be ok. They’ve got this. I still know that there are pitfalls of course, but I was impressed by the preparation and the attention the school is already paying to the students and parents in the process. I hated missing the Seder, but I feel much better about next August already.
This is a season of new beginnings. I’ve recently spoken with parents whose children are getting their drivers’ licenses or heading off to college. I spoke with a parishioner who has had triple bypass surgery this week on his birthday. As he said, “The good Lord gave me life on this date 80(ish) years ago, and he is giving me new life on the same day this year.” And that’s right. It is like getting new life every time we have a chance to begin something new or to start again.
Resurrection is on my mind as we enter into our final preparations for Easter. We’ve been reminded in our lectionary that resurrection is not just something that happens to us when we have died. Resurrection does not belong to the future alone. It happens here and now. In essence each of the moments mentioned above, from starting Middle School to hearth surgery, is a resurrection moment. Each is a moment of new beginnings and new opportunities. As we embark on a new part of our journey, there are so many possibilities.
In fact, we can think of each day that begins as a resurrection of sorts. Every day we have an opportunity to decide what we will do and how we will respond to God. There are numerous biblical allusions to sleeping and waking as ways to consider the effect of being raised from the dead. Even this past week’s gospel included Jesus’ suggestion that Lazarus was merely asleep. Short of our death, however, each day we rise to accept the gift of a new day and determine what we will do with what we have been given until sleep overtakes us again.
There are lots of moments we can choose to see as opportunities to be made new. This week was particularly full of conversations with individuals who were discerning what and who God is calling them to be. There is the person starting chemotherapy who knows that a difficult journey will likely mean new life. It came with the suggestion not to think of the high-powered initial chemo as “red devil,” as it is often called, because it is so potent and physically red in color. Instead this person is taking the advice to think of it as her “red angel,” as it works to help her body rid itself of cancer. God can make all things new, including us, when we are ready to accept it.
Middle School is the start of something new, and with God along for the journey, it can be a life giving one. It’s not like she’s driving yet.
Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to your never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that you are doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.