By Tom Ehrich

Promptly at 4:25pm on a workday, a colleague ended our meeting. “Got to pick up my daughter at school,” he said. “Her first day.”

Same thing yesterday at church, where the music minister introduced new gathering music and we held a Ministry Fair.

Same thing during my weekend in Maryland, where some hard-working and open-minded church leaders considered fresh ideas to meet the emerging needs of a changing context.

You can see why I led a group sharing at Lifeline last evening on “fresh starts.” As much as some people are determined to look backward, the only way forward is fresh starts.

Some are positive and exciting, like first day at school. Some arise from conviction that the familiar needs to become new. Some fresh starts seek hope where there has been frustration, and focus when illness arrives.

Although we have nearly buried God in tradition and doctrines, ancient words and aged facilities, our God is always moving ahead of us and drawing us to fresh starts. Ours is a God of newness, change, rebirth, rough places being made plain, and living water bubbling up in the wilderness.

To embrace fresh starts, we must relinquish control. Stop trying to control the people around us. Stop trying to control institutions. Stop trying to control situations. Stop being afraid of change.