I Was Just Thinking…about Paperback Rhino. If you’re not familiar with that group, I’m not surprised—it is the longest-running improv group in Iowa City, Iowa, founded ten years ago by yours truly and still going strong today. They have been on my mind because a friend pointed me to an interview they did with local radio up there, and I listened and was amazed that a project I started a decade ago basically conscripting neighbors in the dorm has morphed and evolved and changed into a regional championship (going to nationals) group that does a completely different form of improv and does it very well. It makes my heart happy that Paperback Rhino continues, but not because I get to say, “I was a part of that,” but because others, too, can say that part of it was theirs and it just keeps going. Will it be the same in five years as it is today? Absolutely not — there will be new players, new ideas, new combinations and chemistry in the group, just as it’s different today than it was in 2002 — but it will still be Paperback Rhino.
I bring this up as we begin the sprint towards Christmas commonly called Advent. We are doing “A New Thing” quite intentionally, but it is a new thing built on what has come before. We will celebrate Hope, Peace, Joy and Love as a community as we prepare in anticipation for Christ’s arrival, but we will also see that God does not maintain the status quo any more than a group of witty college kids. God is not static, God is not willing to prop up the status quo, God is always moving and shaking things up. It is as if God is doing a new thing — because God is a God of new life, and new life cannot (by definition) be the old one with a few details changed. It is why the Advent of Jesus Christ is God’s New Thing, and it has major impact on us this year, and every year, and next year. But don’t wait until next year to come to service — you won’t want to miss what’s coming up in worship.
Or in Sunday School! See the article, and then plan on coming to class. The First Christmas will meet in Sunday School Room 1, and The Advent Conspiracy will meet in the sanctuary. I hope to see around half of you at 9:30 on Sunday, and everyone at 10:50. Let’s do a new thing together!