Each New Beginning

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Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?” – Isaiah 43:19b (MSG)

Dear Friends,

While I was away last week beginning my certificate program with Christian Formation and Spiritual Direction of Southern California (a mouthful, I know), I was once-again introduced to the Irish teacher and poet, John O’Donohue.  While my time was filled with presentations on various Christian traditions of spiritual formation, personal reflections and small group training in listening, one of the most moving moments for me was my time with O’Donohue’s For A New Beginning, a blessing from his book “To Bless the Space Between Us.”

As I’ve often said, I’m a big believer that God’s voice can be recognized in the echoes.  And blessings, and particularly some blessings from O’Donohue, continue to be echoing in my ears, heard at different times, from different people, in different places over the past several months.

Nine weeks ago we began a new beginning by re-gathering for worship in our renovated sanctuary.  Twenty-four days ago, we made a new beginning by entering the year 2024.  Ten days ago we celebrated the new beginning of baptism for Nicolena Faraci.  And this Sunday we’ll celebrate the new beginning of deacons and elders, ordained and installed to serve and lead us as together we grow in Jesus.  I’m truly excited at these people whom you have recognized God calling to serve and lead.  I’m grateful for them and for you and for God who continually draws us together.

In light of all these new beginnings, I want to offer you John O’Donohue’s blessing For A New Beginning – receive it, whether you’re consciously stepping into something new or not.  Tuck it away for a future moment when you embark on something new.  Or use it as encouragement to take a new step forward.  As the old Irish proverb says, “Tus maith leath na hoibre” or “A good beginning is half the work.”


For A New Beginning – John O’Donohue (“To Bless the Space Between Us, A Book of Blessings)


In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.


For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.


It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.


Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plentitude opening before you.


Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.


Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.


Welcoming You to Grow in Jesus – one new beginning at a time,


Pastor Don