I remember my first Right Start meeting. I had just moved across the country from North Carolina. I was newly married and I had a new name that I had never heard before. I was starting a new job, in a new place I had not been before. All I knew was that I was trained and released upon a community – and I was going to learn to love the people, hold tightly to God’s grace and people would soon see me as their pastor.
By God’s grace, we would help lead a community and figure out how to love God and love our neighbor so that this community would look more like the kingdom of God.
It was a time that disorientation, orientation, reorientation. William Bridges in his book “Managing Transitions” would call it a time of endings, nothingness and new beginnings. So while you have started in your new places, you may be internally in a stage of endings, nothingness and new beginnings. No matter where you are, I am glad you are here today to be connected, hear a little more of what the year looks like for you, and to begin a time of orientation to the new life God has called you to do this year.
Now I have learned that offices and homes, tell something about a person. When doing visitation or funerals, I often liked meeting in the homes to be able to see symbols of who the person is. In my office, most everything in my office and home has a meaning behind it. It’s something that I could see and it focuses me. It’s something that I could look at to inspire me or take a moment.
I wonder if you have items at your place (probably that you have packed and unpacked) that you work that you go back to have to remind you of who you are and what you do and why do this work. Here are mine.
Today’s Scripture comes from Paul speaking to people of Thessolonica.
They received this letter from Paul and he writes three topic sentences in a short amount of time. It’s like he put them in 140 characters or less for the people.
And for us, when we read this thousands of years later for us, it is helpful that these are verses that you can just pick out of Scripture and stick on the wall and look at to remind us of what we get to do. Pray it.
So 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Rejoice always. Pray Continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
So, rejoicing always. Find something to be joyful about. Some days you might have to reach deep. With the joyfulness that we are alive, and with the breath that we have, we have the power to impact someone’s day. We are messengers of grace, receiving grace from God to give grace to others and have them find grace themselves.
Pray continually, knowing that we are continually connecting with the source who gives us breath. To be connected with God who walks with us and guides us as we work.
And to give thanks, so how much more as people, who worship a God who brought life out of death in Christ, and same Spirit guides us, do we have something to share and give thanks.
So, in this season of new beginnings we are grateful and I encourage you to rejoice, pray, to give thanks. And if you need something to stick on your wall, put it up somewhere where you will see it. As you navigate the new,
O God, help us live out the words that you gave to Paul years ago. Help this to become a living and breathing Scripture for us, to help us love you and to share your good news in all we do. In Jesus Name. Amen.