Our neighborhood children no longer wander seemingly without care by our house near midday. Instead they now wear backpacks and, like ants, they follow the sidewalk’s trail as they make their way toward the school in the morning, and back away in the afternoon. The younger ones fairly bounce with excitement. The older ones – who have done this before – exhibit less enthusiasm, yet this fresh start has an appeal that cannot be completely hidden.
It is without a doubt a new season of beginnings. Those who make our calendars don’t quite have it right. January may be the official start of the year, but it is September which brings with it many opportunities for fresh starts. Not only classrooms, but football, television shows, all kinds of clubs and organizations and even changes in the weather unfurl blossoms from shoots which have been carefully tended during their summer hiatus.
In our own home the kitchen woodwork has just been stripped of its paint. We have worked hard to expose the wood beneath. It is chestnut, and the patterns in its grain are magnificent. These window sills and door frames speak of a time when Chestnut trees grew unencumbered by blight. They have also witnessed the preparation of thousands of meals, and watched children leave first for kindergarten, then grade school, high school and college. We are pleased to let it breath again, to allow it full voice.
Seasons with their voices and rhythms offer us new beginnings. Each day holds forth a season burgeoning with promise. Yet each day is also connected to a bigger story – at once a new and ancient story. The story of God breathing life into the chaos in which we often find ourselves, beckoning us to fully enter the season so as to bear fruit.
Morning Prayer’s ancient opening call to the Lord to “open our lips” receives the equally ancient response of “and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.” Renewed every morning, this pattern marks each day as we anchor it into God. Each new beginning, each season of growth and nurture – all need to be anchored into God. For it is with God that our season will ripen into the choicest fruit.