Every fall, I have high hopes. I think maybe I’ll chop a bunch of raw vegetables each weekend, so they’re ready to toss into my kids’ lunch boxes and I won’t have to scramble in the mornings. I reorganize their dresser drawers, even label where the socks go, where the shirts go, so maybe they can find those things on their own. I create a calendar so we don’t miss Family Game Nights or Math Relays or whatever good-for-us event the PTA is planning. And I expect my boys to come home from the first day of the school, or the first week, filled with excitement about the new year, eagerness to dive in, stories about all their new friends and what they’ve learned already.
And they don’t. They come home and I ask them about it and they say, “Mom, all we did was talk about the rules.” They say that for days. Maybe for the whole first week or two. At the beginning of every year they say it. “All we did was talk about the rules.”
And initially, that made me so sad. But these days, I’m starting to see the wisdom in it. Their classes are forming little communities. They’re about to embark on an extended journey of learning more about themselves, and each other, and the world. They’re going to need to be open and vulnerable, to trust and honor each other, to face some fears, to share some dreams. And so there are rules. And it’s probably good to talk about those at the outset.
So to begin this fall, in Sunday morning sermons, we’re going to talk about some rules. Some back-to-school basics that will hopefully serve us all well as we embark on our own congregational journey, as we trust each other with our hopes and fears, as we seek together where and how God is leading us toward tomorrow. I hope you’ll be there, and add your own wisdom.