September is often the time for new beginnings: starting school has produced plenty of pictures on Facebook and other social media as we have captured that historical moment of shoes that gleam, and clothes that look slightly too big (to allow for growth), and a tentative smile.
It’s also a time for new educational courses and new church programmes. Everything gets going again.
It heralds the end of a summer with its different schedules and holidays, and draws in early Christmas thoughts as shops begin the countdown.
For Moorlands College life, and especially the staff, it demands final preparations for another year, another cohort of students with new programmes and timetables.
So how is September for you? Is it exciting because you love change and uncertainty? You’re raring to go into the unknown? Ready for anything life throws at you? Or, like most of us, I suspect, a little nervous, wishing it was June again or Christmas was already here.
The challenge is that many of us can be prepared fully for what we know is coming but still encounter uncertainty. There can be a difficult diagnosis, an unexpected death, a sudden job redundancy or a Hurricane Irma.
“The challenge is that many of us can be prepared fully for what we know is coming but still encounter uncertainty. There can be a difficult diagnosis, an unexpected death, a sudden job redundancy or a Hurricane Irma.”
With these unexpected events, we can prepare for the possibility and in some cases the inevitability, but at that moment how do we cope?
On many of the news bulletins concerning the hurricanes in the Caribbean there have been warnings: get out, and get out now. One man stated he was not moving as his property had storm proof windows and was made of solid brick. He had prepared well. But he was to face the same storm as everyone else. For many they lost all their possessions, and some their lives.
Being prepared is commendable, being prepared is sensible. But in those new beginnings and unknowns, where does our trust lie?
Jesus told many parables, earthly stories with a heavenly meaning. He told one that compares two builders (Matthew 7:24–27). He was a carpenter by trade so knew about shoddy workmanship. But he was not highlighting a bad building job, he was commenting on the foundations. A good foundation for a new build will help stand against storms. The worst weather will not move it! He went on to say that a wise builder builds on wise words that have been listened to and acted upon. But a stupid builder will hear instructions and not act on them.
“Jesus told many parables… He told one that compares two builders. He was a carpenter by trade so knew about shoddy workmanship.”
The shortcuts in building regulations are seen clearly through the tragedy of Grenfell Tower. Now, investigations of that case have exposed the shocking reality that only two per cent of similar UK council tower blocks have full sprinkler systems. A wise builder will hear and act on those instructions.
At this new beginning, wherever we are, so should we.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”