I had the wonderful opportunity to go tent camping a lot as a child.
It is impossible to forget the smell of the leaves and wet earth under our tent, the patina of the old Colman stove and coffee kettle, the inevitable ziiiiiipppppp of the tent’s door opening every morning to the cool campfire dawn. It is something that I remember fondly and with expectation that I can continue the tradition with my family.
While I loved the old canvass tent my family had, it’s gone, replaced by a thinner, nicer nylon tent. The old Colman stove rusted through and dented was replaced by the next generation model (with Starbucks instant coffee packets at the ready).
While the tools may have changed, the goal of camping was never about the tools it was about something more.
Tools lose their usefulness with rips, cracks, and dents. We adapt and move forward with the hope of regaining that special feeling. We use our resources to build our values and experiences into something that lasts beyond the things we can see or touch.
I have been here almost two years and have been blessed by the congregation accepting and welcoming me and my family. In the long life of this church, many still consider themselves a “new addition”. While the previous generations fulfilled their role, it has come to us to carry the church forward. I am thankful that we can step into a role so loved and trusted and do our best to bring integrity and respect to it as we continue together.
But along with me have come a series of changes and new things, new elders and deacons, reminders that life is always changing. Though some things change, the important things we savor: the feeling of walking into worship with friends and family, the joy of voices singing, crying, praying together, and the holy space where saints have lived and died among us.
Jesus says all the things of this world will eventually pass away, but his Word will last forever. When we gather, let us be reminded that all the tools both old and new are only to seek his Word. We are stewards of the pews, the hymnals, the sound system, the building.