"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away;
see, everything has become new!"
-2 Corinthians 5:17 (NRSV)
Heather and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. She and Evey chose to celebrate the occasion with a trip to the Portland, OR area to visit dear friends, while Owen and I chose the less exciting option - work. I am, of course, just kidding about the motivation for the girls' trip, but over the course of our life together Heather and I rarely spend much time apart. We choose to spend so much time together because we love being around one another. There is a sense of wholeness when we're together. I know this sounds corny in a Jerry Maguire kind of way; but the truth of the matter remains that our life together, in communion with one another, and God invites us to participate in something larger than we could ever be on our own.
Time apart, though, invites fresh vision and new opportunities; new creation, if you will. Heather's time away afforded opportunities for us both to disrupt our normal routines a bit. She and Evey explored new places together. Owen and I spent time together that we might not have otherwise: a nice dinner at Pikk's and a movie (I don't recommend Brightburn). I was able to drop Owen at his very first day of his very first 'official' job (THANK YOU, Mary!). Granted, these are things that could happen regardless of Heather and Evey's trip. However, our normal rhythm would be dinner and a movie with the entire family, pending the loan approval to cover movie tickets and snacks! I am confident the disruption to our normal routine helped us all grow in our relationships in new ways. New creation happened.
It is no secret that the normal rhythm of church life and leadership at FPCV has been disrupted these past six months. My hope is that we all take time to witness and celebrate the new creation that has blossomed during this time. The absence of a senior pastor has created space for the presence of leadership from so many within our community. An incredible pastoral care team has developed and tends wonderfully to the needs of our church family. The pulpit has been filled with such a variety of voices, preachers and liturgists alike, all of whom glorify God. Through LIFT, our congregation graciously created space to explore worship in new ways. A variety of Bible study groups encourage one another to grow deeper in relationship with Jesus Christ. First Friday Friends continues to offer fun-filled ways for children to experience Christian fellowship. The Gordon family is preparing the VBS team to head 'To Mars and Beyond' this summer. The CE Team is working through the summer on exciting new faith formation programming. The missional nature of our church moves forward unabated, and there is so much more to celebrate!
Should you find yourself in need of a reminder of how the Holy Spirit continues to move through our community, be sure to check out the WV Mission Trip blog next week. The group will share our daily experience at http://followingfirstpres.home.blog.
Sometimes the voids we experience seem like nothing more than emptiness. The absence of loved ones and leaders seems like nothing more than a waiting period. However, when space is created, of our own accord or otherwise, it makes room for God to work in new ways. It allows new creation, new life to flourish. Lest we forget, we, the church, are the body of Christ; and Jesus Christ is the head. "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" Let us rejoice and be glad in this!
Yours in Christ,