2016-09-01-season-changeWhen Wallace was a newborn, I didn’t know much—okay anything!—about being a parent. So I listened closely to the nurses who showed us how to wrap him in a blanket like a little burrito. I quickly became proficient in my burrito making skills and went home confident that I could care for my little newborn. All went well for a few days, until Wallace kicked out of his cocoon. At first, it was just once, but then it became regular. I panicked. What was wrong? In my sleep-deprived fear and confusion, I called my sister—my non-resident expert who had successfully navigated through this phase with all four of her children. I suspect she was laughing on the other end of the phone, but she very gently reminded me that I didn’t want a burrito for a child! Wallace would pass through phase after phase all along the way, and my job wasn’t to keep him at the old phase but to nurture him into each new one.

The fact is: seasons change—throughout our own lives, in the lives of those around us and in all of creation. Even as one season ends, there is, buried within the ending, the beginnings of the next one. But we often cannot see it because we become pretty good at and comfortable with the current season. We cling tightly to what we know when we realize it is coming to an end, resisting the transition, fearful of the unknown season ahead of us.

Recently, Rob Bell did a podcast on Seasons, linked here; the actual content begins about six minutes in.  He reminds us that at the end of John’s gospel, Jesus meets Mary in the garden after his resurrection, saying to her ‘don’t cling to me!’ Mary, it appears, desires to recreate what was before Jesus’ death. But Jesus is inviting her into a new season, the new creation only made possible by this terrible ending of the previous season.  As Rob says:

You have to let go of how it was, because only when you let go of how it was, only then are your hands open, your palms open, are you in the right place and have the proper posture to receive the new season… That’s what it means to be alive—to understand that there is a new creation bursting forth right here in the midst of the old one.

We are in the midst of season change all the time; it’s just a matter of where we are in this moment. Take a moment and identify where you are—are you Building? Losing? Recreating? Perhaps you’re in the midst of a massive season change—like taking a child to college, reeling from a death or losing physical strength or ability. How can you allow yourself space to grieve, to honor that which was and to recognize the loss of ending? Even if you are relieved something is ending, there still is grief that accompanies the letting go.

And even as we grieve, can we practice living with our hands wide open—willing to receive the new season—the new creation God is bringing forth in our lives—and its attending gifts? We won’t be able to see the new until we have honored and let go of the old. And the more we practice this art in the small seasons of life, the more we have the strength and courage to navigate in and through the Big Season changes present in all of our lives.

Hope to see you Sunday!