We don’t need to wait until the summer solstice (longest day) on June 21 to tell us that summer has begun. I think the sweltering temperatures and humidity over the past Memorial Day weekend is all the indication we need. In Children’s Worship and Wonder, we contemplate time as a circle—where the ending is the beginning, and the beginning is the ending. We are in a liminal space of beginnings and endings.
For some, including those we will recognize in this Sunday’s worship service, it is a time of ending an educational program and receiving a diploma for one’s efforts. That might also usher in a time of uncertainty about the next step in one’ future. Endings which are beginnings. For our teachers—certainly angels in disguise—it is the end of a year’s worth of hard work, including facing political issues which greatly affect their future. Some have dealt with children who did not want to be in the classroom; some have encountered parents who have not been respectful when approached about a problem with their son or daughter. Now, they can have a measure of rest and spend more time with family and engaging other passions. Endings which are beginnings.
For the youngest in our communities, this ending might not be so positive. School might have been the one place where they were adequately supervised and received two meals a day. Now, they remain in homes that might be uncomfortably hot, lacking in nutrition, and void of intellectual stimulation. Many will lose months’ worth of knowledge and skill that was so carefully transmitted during the school year.
Endings and beginnings. Beginnings and endings. They give us so much to ponder. Some are exciting and new, others are fraught with fear and uncertainty. Our lives are full of these thresholds. During these times, one thing we can hold fast to is the everlasting presence of a God who loves us unconditionally. We can be steadfast in prayer for all these situations of ending and beginnings, beginnings and endings. We can be a good friend and neighbor. We can look out for the fragile in our midst. We can extend words of encouragement for those embarking on new journeys. We can offer a glimpse of the love of the one who is our Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end, Jesus Christ.