May is a month of celebrations and changes. The school year is ending. Spring is in full bloom. In Mason City, we gather for Band Festival and Memorial Day festivities. Kids come home for summer.

Snowbirds come back, too – if they haven’t already. Around Trinity, May marks the end of another program year. Sunday School and WNA take a break. So do some music ensembles like the Trinity Choir and bell choirs. On May 12, another group of new members will join Trinity. (May 12 also happens to be Mother’s Day – another celebration!)

On May 19, we will honor Trinity’s 18 high school seniors with Baccalaureate, praying God’s blessing on their lives. On May 26, we switch to our outdoor worship schedule – Sunday 9 AM becomes an outdoor band-led service; 10:30 AM changes to a traditional/livestream service in the sanctuary. Lots of changes. Lots of reasons to celebrate.

But change, even good change, can bring mixed emotions. We don’t often think of positive change leading to grief, but it can and does. Just ask the parent of a graduating senior! Or anyone leaving a job for a better one. All change involves loss – even good changes. And loss means grief. It helps to name this, let ourselves feel it, and consider if there is something we need to do to honor what is different – so that we can keep moving forward.

In the book of Ezra, we read about a celebration held as the foundation for the new temple was being laid. After 70 years of exile, Israel had returned and was ready to rebuild. People gathered around the new cornerstone and shouted with great joy, praising the Lord.

But not everyone was completely happy. Ezra 3:12-13 says that the older generation – the ones who remembered the glory of the original temple – wept. They wept. In the middle of a joyous moment, some wept unashamedly for what used to be. Isn’t that beautiful and reassuring? Joy and mourning mingled together. A good change that
causes joy and deep grief.

We’ve all probably been there. I know I have. It’s okay to mourn what is new and different. It’s okay to not be okay. But as Ezra reminds us, we let ourselves grieve so that we can press on in joy. I love that the elders mourn the old temple. I also love how the leaders don’t let this grief prevent a new temple from being built. The next generation needed it. They trusted God held their future as much as their grief about the past.

So as you celebrate this month, and all the changes it brings, may you find room to also name the losses you are experiencing. Even loss from good change. Doing this is not only healthy – it’s deeply faithful.