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Space for Renewal and Rededication

by The Rev Beth Knowlton on May 11, 2022

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.” —Revelation 21:1-6
It is hard to believe that this is last the reflection I’ll offer before my sabbatical this summer. I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude at the opportunity. I’m so grateful for the Lilly Foundation grant which is also offering opportunities for the congregation to also engage in an intentional time of renewal and sabbath. We have some wonderful opportunities to cook with local chefs, engage with nature, and reflect on the gift of sabbath. I often joke that the most disregarded of the ten commandments seems to be the observance of the sabbath. The reality is that it is hard to find intentional time apart. Perhaps that is why it is listed in the first place! God seems to know our tendency to need to be constantly at work and in control. And yet that time of creating space is just as important as our more obviously active times.
Summer does offer a different pace, and rather than seeing it as merely an absence of activity, perhaps imagining the work that God is doing while we rest is helpful. When we plant seeds, we don’t expect instant results. We know there is time that appears dormant when much is going on beneath the surface. Given all that we have been through, this seems particularly important. We can prioritize gathering in worship at our combined service at 10 am on Sundays, enjoying fellowship and opportunities to learn together, and imagining together what is on the horizon.
This important time of preparation will allow us to enter the new program year in the fall with energy and purpose. We are planning some exciting events to formally rededicate our newly finished spaces and to imagine our shared future. There has been much disruption these past years, and our faith practices encourage a rhythm of sabbath and renewal as part of our shared journey. I will miss you over the summer, but so look forward to seeing you after Labor Day. I’ll have many stories to share with you and look forward to hearing yours. I’m grateful for the good leadership and support of our senior staff, the wardens, and the vestry. I am grateful to be part of such a healthy and vibrant community.
I pray you take advantage of real sabbath this summer. Allow the parched places in your soul to be watered. Look around for the many signs that God is already making all things new.

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