One of my favorite television ads of all time was for Staples — it ran some years ago, and you might remember it. It featured ecstatic parents practically dancing as they pushed shopping carts through the store, picking out school supplies with their glum, feet-dragging kids in tow. Peppily playing in the background is Andy Williams’ Christmas song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” I always got a kick out of the joy the parents took as they got ready to send their kids back to the more structured time of school – the kind of joy their kids wouldn’t have until Christmastime.
But I will confess that when I was a kid, I was the one joyfully pushing the shopping cart picking out school supplies! I loved poring over the list of school supplies and then searching everything out: the # 2 pencils and just the right pens and a brand new binder and reams of lined paper and a protractor and a giant eraser and even those weird rolls of notebook paper hole reinforcements that I don’t believe I ever used once. And I loved going back to school. (Mostly. At least in the years when I wasn’t the new kid because we’d just moved. That’s a meditation for another day!)
There’s something wonderful indeed about starting a project new and fresh, and lining up the supplies that you’ll need to organize yourself for greatest success. I’m getting to have a taste of it particularly this year, as I am preparing to co-teach a class this fall at the new Episcopal Divinity School at Union Seminary. I have taken great joy particularly in buying and starting to use a brand-new daily planner for the occasion!
Perhaps you too are looking forward to starting a new project this fall? Whether you have something new or not in your plans, you might particularly think about beginning something new here at Holy Apostles. Perhaps you’ve always wondered what it would be like to be an acolyte or help set up for the services or welcome visitors or help provide our hospitality fare — we’d love to talk to you more about getting involved. And for those of you who are already involved (for which we are so grateful), you might consider shifting around and trying something new. You might also look around and notice whether you might invite one of the relative newcomers in our parish to get involved with whatever you enjoy doing yourself.
May this fall be a rich time of new beginnings, a most wonderful time of the year, filled with God’s grace and blessings!