Is it time to renew your driver’s license or car tag? Maybe you have renewed a streaming service or magazine subscription. We have to renew these things from time to time. While we may be able to forget about them for a bit, knowing they’ll last for a while, eventually, they need our attention.
We also need renewal in our lives. Merriam-Webster describes “renew” as “to make like new; restore to freshness.” Doesn’t that sound good? We all get tired, discouraged, and frustrated at times. That project we started with such enthusiasm takes longer than we realized. That relationship we decided to work on requires more energy than we planned. That goal we’re trying to reach still seems distant. We don’t want to give up, don’t want to quit. We’re just so tired. How can we find renewal?
This year our theme for Vacation Bible School is “Renew.” We’ll focus on creation care, challenging participants to think globally and act locally every day. The writers of our VBS curriculum hope to inspire us to “grow in faith, have fun, and change the world as we practice stewardship of creation.”
I wonder if we might think about renewal in our own lives as a form of stewardship. We often talk about stewardship in terms of money and giving, specifically to the church. Stewardship is about management of something entrusted to us, taking good care, being responsible. Each of us is entrusted with what Mary Oliver calls our “one wild and precious life.” How will we steward our lives?
Part of careful stewardship is taking time for renewal. It includes those small moments that are life-giving and good: rest, meaningful conversation with a friend, gardening, reading a good book, going for a walk, worshiping together, appreciating the beauty of creation, etc. It is also ongoing and slow work: stopping to grieve and realizing we need time to heal, learning to accept help from others, discerning what is life-giving and what is life-draining.
May we find renewal individually and collectively as we journey together.