The excitement level around here is pretty high as the church bell is ringing again, major carpentry work on the church exterior is finished, and scraping and painting is complete; all long-overdue tasks. The excitement is, of course, tempered by the realization that we do have to pay for every job, completed and planned, and some folks are rightly wondering if it was prudent to embark upon these endeavors without having first sought the necessary funding. Of course, in a perfect world, we anticipate our needs, make arrangements to meet those needs, and then proceed as necessary and appropriate. Sadly, as evidenced by daily news reports, we do not live in a perfect world, and we find ourselves doing the best we can to respond to immediate and wider-spread needs as best as we can, while still doing our best to meet our own pressing needs.
No one knows better than we that our resources are not bottomless. We skate dangerously close to foolhardiness in our efforts to keep our buildings in good repair, to keep our community healthy, and to be faithful stewards of all that God has given us.
As the season turns from high summer to what appears to be an early autumn, I wonder if we’re facing the same issues on a deeply personal level. Promises we made to ourselves in the dead of winter somehow went unfulfilled when spring thawed the ice and snow. The promises were renewed and modified as plants blossomed and produced, but remain unkept through the dog days of summer. Now with the sun setting earlier and earlier each day, we may find ourselves wondering what happened to the hope and promise of spring.
Even as we wonder, though, we have a good idea of what happened: life got in the way of our plans. Promises made long ago were relegated to the back burner as we faced more immediate and pressing concerns that seem to have arisen with no notice. We did what we had to do when we had to do it.
We’re invited during this time of shortening days to reassess the promises we made so long ago to ourselves, to our families and friends, to our community, and to our God. What requires realignment in our lives before the inevitable onset of another winter? Sometimes we can plan ahead, sometimes we just can’t. What we can always do, with our without what we consider the necessary resources, is to reassess, reevaluate, and recommit to whatever it is that we hold most dear.