"This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Dr. Lewton was out the door by 5:30 this morning, strong coffee in hand. Two little Lewtons are nearing the end of their night-before-the-first-day-of-school sleep. (And the littlest Lewton of them all will smile them into a new morning.)
Today is "new year's day" of the school year. And like the new year's day on January 1st, today feels like a starting-over point. It is a day to begin to live into new dreams for a new school year. And whenever I dream about something new, I always dream about living with less busyness, less rushing, more simplicity.
As a pastor, I see families run, run, and run some more. Usually, it is one sport or another that keeps them sprinting. Sometimes another kind of recreation, but typically a sport. Often, parents apologize to me in the grocery store for not getting themselves to worship. "We are just so busy," they do not even have to say.
And I understand. My family isn't running to and from sports obligations, it often just feels like we're running to keep up. To echo my sage-buddy Ecclesiastes, this busy business of families is nothing but vanity, a chasing after the wind. Hebel, in the Hebrew, with a good throat-clearing in the beginning. It's all a bunch of hebel.
So on this new year's day of the new school year, I'm reading the text from Joshua 24, preparing for this weekend's sermon. And the text could not better fit this busy business of busy families. Picture Joshua, standing in front of his family of faith, challenging them to let go of all of their gods and follow their One God. It is the "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" story.
As for me and my household...what do we want to be about? What am I passing onto my kids? What is shaping their lives right now? Are we managing the busyness, or does it manage us?
I have a suspicion that it would be easy to coast through the busyness and wonder, in 10 years, where the time went. (Maybe that will happen anyway.) But I'm not going to let the busyness own us.
What are we about as a family? I don't want it to be sports, even though there are sports I love and grew up loving. I don't want it to be managing the clock and the calendar, because that is exhausting.
What Joshua and his cohort left behind were generations of slavery. They gave up enslavement to serve the God who set them free. And they promised to be faithful to this God of theirs. (They would mess that up, over and over again, we now know.)
So now, my new year's resolution, to pass on faith, and not busyness. To live with a sense of freedom in our family, not enslavement under the clock and the calendar.
We're going to continue daily blessing each other. And if I'm smart about it, we'll do that in the morning, too, to bookmark the day with the gift of God's freeing faith. That's what we're about as a family.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Nothing else.