See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said,
“See, I am making all things new.” – Revelation 21:3b-5a

September is a time that we usually look forward to with excitement.
The summer is over and the new school year is upon us. For many, new

clothes, shoes, and backpacks are part of the September ritual. In the con-
gregation, the new program year starts and choir resumes. From the sum-
mer schedule of one worship service we return to the familiar two services.

It is a time of new excitement, but also a newness found in returning to the
This year has a different feel. What was once excitement of a hoped
-for return to normal has instead because a time of uncertainty. Some

things are restarting, but everything feels tentative. Perhaps we are emerg-
ing from pandemic times, but new variants make it unclear what to expect.

A return to normal feels further away than ever, it seems. We are not re-
turning to two services this fall, but will continue with one service. For now

we are also returning to needing to wear masks during all events in the
building. The joy of familiar routines is not returning to us, at least for now.
Yet God does not promise familiarity. God promises to make all
things new. This is a promise to be present with us as things change. God

will guide us through the challenges that are to come, comforting our dis-
comfort at losing what is familiar, and leading us into the new reality that is

to come. The changes we face may be inevitable, but we can chose how to
face them. We can resist, or we can embrace the changes and look to see
how God may be present in what is new. It is not easy to do this, and yet
such an attitude can empower us to engage uncertain times with hope and
perhaps even a bit of joy.