“We’ve never done it this way before.”
This statement often comes as a response to an idea or proposal that is new or foreign to us. It is usually a mark of resistance against something unfamiliar and unknown. I have heard it said that these are the seven last words of the Church.
In these days we are doing many things we have never done this way before. Zoom meetings. Moving during a pandemic. Meeting people and building relationships while wearing masks and social distancing. Figuring out how to do worship while caring for others. It can be a challenge. It’s easy to cross our arms, dig in our heels, and long for the way we’ve always done it.
The reality in which we find ourselves tells us that the routine and familiar are no longer available to us. When these days of challenge have passed, we will have a choice. Do we continue to resist, or do we embrace the new opportunities that these new days present to us?
I like to reframe that first statement, so that it becomes “We’ve never done it that way before!” It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. It becomes an expression of wonder and openness to the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst. It allows us to embrace the new thing that God is doing. It gives us the grace to try being in ministry in ways that may at first seem uncomfortable, but will soon become welcome and familiar.
As we look toward the end of summer and the beginning of the fall season, things will be different for all of us. I invite you to open yourselves to the ongoing work of the Spirit among us as we seek to be faithful in all things. I look forward to finding ways to gather with you in small groups and getting to know you. I am excited about opportunities for study and fellowship in a variety of ways.
We may not know a lot about what all of this will look like, but we do know that God is with us, and will continue to lead us and guide us into our what comes next. I am eager to be part of this journey with you.