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    A View from the Pew

    Goodbye, Hello

    I serve Emmanuel College as a pastoral musician on Sunday mornings. Today, the director of Campus Ministry decommissioned the existing liturgical prayer book, the Sacramentary and offered a prayer of gratitude for its years of service on our behalf. A student carried the current Sacramentary out of the chapel. We sang the current acclamations for the last time. We recited the Nicene Creed as we know it for the last time. “And also with you” took flight. I acclaimed “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” one more time. I actually became a bit choked up as I bid farewell to old friends in ritual celebration.

    I left Emmanuel’s chapel and went to spend the rest of the day and part of the evening in the recording studio to work with young artists and lay down the vocal tracks of my newest CD release Tell Them About Me. No longer the singer as in past recordings, I found new life in my work as not only as the composer but the producer and teacher for this very eclectic production of original music with talented young musicians who love the church and love music. With my producer and my engineer, we steered young artists into the recording world of God song and witnessed a new incarnation of the Spirit as these gifted young people breathed life into music that I thought would go unheard and sit forever on a shelf. I went from a moment of goodbye to a day of hello, a day of dusk to a day of dawning. And then I had a thought.

    We have to say goodbye in order to say hello. What lies in store for us as we wait for the Spirit of God to breathe in us completely depends on our willingness to relinquish what we know and accept that we need pruning to bear new life. Unless we remain open to change, nothing will. What does that say about us and our faith if we resist a God pregnant with possibility to deliver new offspring fresh with magnanimous gifts for the common good?

    Grieve for what you know is gone but don’t grieve long. Say goodbye and then say hello. We begin anew, today, now. Who knows what awaits us when we open our arms and welcome the Spirit at work within every day, every hour and in every moment? From dusk to dawn, a new advent beckons us.

    Thanks be to God that moments of imagination, beauty and power prod us to continue to plough the fields and scatter good seed to inspire, propel and catapult assemblies into service on behalf of those who need God the most – the sick, the imprisoned, the dead, the hungry, the homeless, the naked, the poor. Eyes on the prize: the open invitation to respond to God’s creative beckoning and stay open-minded to change feeds the people in our pews more than we realize. Our own future depends on it; you can rely on that.

    Goodbye, hello; a mantra for the days, weeks and year ahead.