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A New Hope

09/27/10

A New Hope

Permalink 10:08:13 am by cassie, Categories: Announcements [A]

The last nearly-four years of marriage, we've waffled. To stay, or to go - to church, that is. It hasn't been a question of whether or not to go to church, but more whether we should stay at the church I've grow up in, or leave to find the proverbial greener pastures. At about a year and a half into things, we started seriously flagging. I was working too many weekends at my new jobs, we had just become 1/3 of the last six people our age at the church, and we were feeling like the cobwebs of stagnancy were creeping exponentially compared to the regular cobwebby rate. Then we met Dee and Nick and we were refreshed. We had another couple to meet up with a few times a month, we had a Bible study going together there for a while, and we found a little bit of familiarity from our small, moat-surrounded island of Young Married Christian Coupledom.

A few years later, Dee and Nick and the one other younger couple have all moved on to other churches and we're still here, sometimes a little restless, a bit of wanderlust stirred when we visit friends at other churches and seem to find slightly more vigor and excitement there. But we've stayed. We stayed, knowing that the pastor, there for 25+ years, was going to leave to start a new church, and we have wanted to see what the future brings. I have been to broken churches with no pastor and that has not been our church - at times it is still cobwebby, often the hymns drag and drone and I'm ready to leap up and conduct myself, with clapping hands and stomping feet and a battle cry - but sometimes, like this weekend, it has been triumphant. As we entertained a young youth pastor and family who are potentials to fill the hole left by our previous pastor, there was energy and hope from even the most dour of our usual parishioners. All have been aching for change without knowing it.

The pastor and family were nervous, not much older than I am, and in an unfamiliar part of the country - perhaps they were not at their best because of this - but as everyone showed up to talk to them, the music and the mood swelled. It doesn't matter if they are the right people to fill that need in our little, oddly-formed and sometimes unattractive-looking body of Christians, but it matters that they came, that we can see the potential that exists, that the church need not be filled with only those who've known God for longer than I've been alive, that we can grow and change to be knit closer together. We can welcome in the new and unfamiliar without suspicion sometimes uncleverly disguised as Biblical Discretion and Separation, and we can be revitalized by the zeal of the young and unencumbered without sadness for the loss of treasured but not-Biblically-prescribed traditions. We can be new and old all at once.

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I like to multi-task: wife, writer, nurse, Christian, ne'er do well. I do all with equal gusto.

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