Will this winter ever end? Will spring ever come? As I write this we are preparing for what I most sincerely hope will be the last snow storm of the season. The great irony of the timing of this storm is that it has led us to postpone the Spring Equinox celebration. Will this winter ever end? Will spring ever come? The snow that remains piled in the corners of parking lots and yards is dirty and crusty; it is hard to love the final remnants of winter.
The ancients celebrated the Equinox as a matter of faith. Faith that spring would indeed come, that the warmth and light would return. We, too, must have faith. Faith that spring will finally assert itself, that flowers will bloom and trees will bud. Most important, faith that our souls will awaken and we will respond with gratitude and joy to the changing of the seasons.
With spring comes the culmination of the ministerial search process. I am sure that many of you have been thinking, “Will this transition ever end? Will a new era in the history of this congregation ever come?” Of course it will, in some form. My ministry among you ends in June. I am beginning the process of searching for my next interim appointment. This is a search for the next congregation asking, “What will happen when our minister leaves? What will the interim be like? Are interims as mean as we’ve heard? Will she ask three impossible things of us before breakfast?”
As you approach this spring with all of its promise, it is important to remember what the cycles of seasons teach us: life is cyclical, nothing is permanent. Spring comes, then summer, then autumn, then winter again. It is not possible to live in an unchanging state; nothing in creation is unchanging. So too with the life of your congregation. You will find another minister, and you will continue to grow and change and evolve. You will establish new connections – to new members, perhaps to returning members, to a new minister. The nature of those connections will be based on the old connections, but this new stage in your institutional life will not be like going back to those ‘good old days’ that never were. It will be something new and dynamic and organic. Like life itself.
Nature teaches us that the only thing that is reliable is that cycles of change come and come and come again. So, will this particular winter ever end? Yes it will. Will this particular spring ever come? Yes it will. Will it be all that you hoped for? Probably not. It will be more than you hoped for. And different than you hoped for. And it will be quite wonderful in the way of new life. So let’s be grateful for warmth that comes slowly, and light that comes slowly and life that comes and comes and comes again.
In the Interim,