September always seems to come upon me with a rush, landing in my world with a “hit-the-ground-running” sort of urgency. Just as I feel I’ve really hit my easy summer stride, September shows up—out-pacing me at every step, challenging me to keep up. Usually, at this point in September—if I’m being honest—I’m not sure I can.
Perhaps you can relate.
Perhaps your first week of September was jammed with frantic morning lunch-packing, frenzied back-to-school shopping and adjusting to a new rotation of pick-ups, drop-offs and after-school childcare. Perhaps your September began with renewed volunteer commitments, a ramp-up at work, and all the sports teams you thought you could handle starting up at the same time. Perhaps you moved to a new city, started school and found your first apartment. Or, perhaps your September has been a leisurely stroll towards autumn (in which case, enjoy the pace!)
September—for many of us—is a season of new beginnings, full of excitement and possibility. At Knox we call this season “September Launch” because we get to throw ourselves into all that God has for us this year with energy and hope, certain that He will move among us. What an amazing season! It’s also true that with beginnings come transitions, which challenge us, disrupt us and invite us into deeper dependence upon God.
For me, this has been a September of multiple beginnings. I’m preparing to get married in a couple of weeks, while my fiancée, Fran, and I have moved across the country, leaving community and ministry roles to start a new job, and a new program of study, in a new city. It’s full of excitement and possibility, and I feel certain that God is leading us into something extraordinary … and I have learned that we can’t do this alone!
As we began our vision sermon series this month with the call to be followers of Jesus’ way, I found myself so grateful to be serving a God who leads us. That, in the midst of our Septembers, we are not left to flounder in the chaos of “launch” season, but we can lift our eyes to the One who sets our course. The good news, church, is that we don’t just learn about, sing about, talk about, pray about Jesus, we follow Him. Through new beginnings, through transition, into the future He has prepared for us, we look for the footsteps of Jesus and follow His trail. He is going somewhere we can’t see yet, inviting us to trust that His way is good and true, and to fall into step with Him. Instead of promising to remove the challenges that come with new beginnings, Jesus calls us into and through them, promising to be with us - leading us and calling us forward for the sake of His kingdom and for our flourishing. Isn’t this good, church?
Whether your September so far feels like chaos or calm, I invite you to practice lifting your eyes towards the One you follow this week. In the 5PM service this week, we sang a simple chorus that a friend taught me for when I feel overwhelmed by the rush and swirl of life:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full on His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”
Jesus is leading you through this season. He is ahead of you, and behind you, on your right and your left. He knows where you’re going, and knows exactly how to get there. Let us rest, and walk, and trust, and hope, in that good promise, my friends. And let us live our Septembers in the light of His glory and grace.