These words come from a sermon I heard a few years ago. The English translation is basically, I need to refresh. These words are a reminder to examine where we are, what we’ve learned and how to reshape our lives in the midst of ongoing changes. The word refresh is synonymous with revive, enliven and invigorate.
I can say that I rarely practice a time of refreshment. During my Sabbath time, I rest, reflect and meditate on the Scripture reading of the day or week and events which have recently unfolded in my life. I am sometimes able to give myself permission to keep my computer closed, not answer texts, or phone calls or even take the initiative to make them myself, because I have more time.
However, that’s not the same thing as refreshing. This word encourages us to find new meaning in what we do and what we wish to accomplish. This past August, a Whole Foods store opened near me. If the commercials are to be believed, the store promotes healthy, organic, and fresh foods choices over processed options. If the parking lot is any indication, many people in the area have made this their regular grocery store. I can only wonder if this shopping change has brought more energy and vitality to how their customers work and feel.
Although counting steps is not a new way to measure how active we are, measuring devices have become more sophisticated. They now remind us when we’ve sat too long, what our heart rate is, how much sleep we are getting, and if necessary, what our glucose levels might be.
The goal is for us to pay more attention to how active we are in order to stay as healthy as possible. And every once in a while we need to examine these data sources and ask ourselves which ones are working well. My exercise app offers new classes, programs and trainers a couple times a month, which keeps me engaged and active.
As we continue to re-engage with our faith communities, to restart or revisit what we used to do, I also invite us to refresh what it is we do as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We are entering a new era. Each of us is being asked to reconsider what it means to be the church in the third decade of the 21st century.
How can we focus on what it means to be in mission and ministry in ways that will energize and invigorate us? What new resources can we provide that will invite people to consider how God is calling each of us to be His instruments in and for the world? In what ways is the Living Word of God speaking to our hearts and souls? What can we do to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to people inside and outside of our worship spaces? Who are we missing in our faith communities and our neighborhoods?
Are you excited about what God is doing in your life? Have you been refreshed by the enforced time away during COVID? Are you eager to get busy once again? I hope the answer to these three questions is a resounding yes. I am including the link for the Conference Revitalization Toolbox as a reference for each faith community. These resources are available for you as each of us discovers new ways to answer God’s call upon our lives. May you be refreshed by our continuing journey. And Amen.