At the same time, new school milestones are so regular that they can seem almost routine and ordinary. While there are all sorts of “new” firsts for our young students, these are the same milestones that their parents went through, just the same as their grandparents did before them (albeit with some changes in technology along the way!). The practice of teaching the next generation knowledge and curiosity about the world is as ancient as the human race. We pass on what we know to the best of our ability and do our best to raise up the next generation of smart, capable adults who can keep things running for just a bit longer. Many thanks to all the teachers, educators, and administrators who make this happen!
Our lives of faith are much the same. Though some things have changed in the church over the last few decades and centuries, our practices are much the same as they were a few thousand years ago. While we read scriptures in modern English now, the texts that were once read in ancient Greek and Latin proclaim the same Gospel that we hear in our own tongue and in our own time. Our baptismal liturgies have changed some over the years, but the practice itself is older than even John the Baptist at the river Jordan. Our practices of communing around the table have changed a bit since that first Holy Supper between Jesus and his disciples in the upper room, but we still eat the bread and drink the wine much the same as those original twelve did before Judas betrayed Jesus to the authorities. There are lots of routines in our lives of faith that can seem almost ordinary at times.
Yet, much like a new student entering the classroom for the first time in months or even the first time ever, we all encounter the mystery and wonder of our faith anew in our own lifetimes. Generations have been baptized for centuries in more or less the same way, but there is something powerful and wonderful that happens with each new baptism that occurs in our own time. The bread and the wine are elements of renewal and rebirth that we experience every week around the table. The Good News of Jesus Christ can renew our hope in new and powerful ways, no matter how many times we have heard it preached over our lives. This month, we will start our programs of 3F (Faith, Family, and Friends) geared towards students in Kindergarten through 6th grade, 406 Church geared towards our high school students, and our Sunday morning Bible Study focusing on the book of Genesis. These programs all seek to teach the ancient faith that has been passed down with great regularity through the generations so that hearts and minds might receive it in ways that are new and exciting once again.