Here God Goes Again, Breaking a New Trail, A Message from Pastor Sarah Stadler

Linda Pastan writes in her poem Imaginary Conversation:
You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last.  This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead–that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.
But why the last?  I ask.  Why not
live each day as it if were the first–
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingenue in the east?
You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself.  I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
living surface.
I don’t know you yet, People of Hope, but I do know that you have been through plenty of transition in the last few years–not only as a faith community but in the pandemic, in our shared public life, and likely in your personal lives as well.  Transition can be very tiring.  And wearing on our spirits.  And you have weathered multiple transitions all at the same time.  I imagine you are eager to end some of these transitions and enter into a time of relative stability.  Yet here we are, in this interim period at Esperanza.  As you well know, there will be many steps in this interim period: forming a transition team, discerning God’s call for this community and the kind of leader you need, forming a call committee, interviewing candidates.  You may be taking a deep breath and wondering, like the psalmist: how long, oh Lord, will this last?  You may anticipate some plodding–spiritually or emotionally.  
Standing as we are on the brink of something different yet again, I invite us to welcome raw astonishment.  I invite us to rub our eyes awake as if on the first morning of creation.  I invite us to glance out the window and see what God has done and is doing.  For raw astonishment fuels gratitude and joy.  Raw astonishment allows us to see the gifts we take for granted, perhaps friendships or opportunities to serve, our homes or the beauty of creation.  Raw astonishment opens our eyes to new possibilities.  I don’t know you yet, People of Hope, but I do know that God is at work among us.  In Isaiah, God declares: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).  Here God goes again, making a way in the wilderness, doing a new thing–for and with and among us.  Aided by raw astonishment, perhaps we will perceive it.
With joy and wonder,
Pastor Sarah Stadler