IN France during August, shop windows and magazine adverts are dominated, not unlike Britain – by Rentree - ‘back to school’ sales.

But, over there, the re-entry is a significant event across the whole age range.

Summer is almost over; its indulgences must be packed away so that serious life can begin again.

Rentree is anticipated with just a frisson of anxiety.

Why were the moon-landers (as we have recently been reminded) returning to earth so apprehensively?

Not just because they might be burnt alive in the friction of the earth-bound atmosphere, but partly because in their focus, on the moon, they had not properly imagined their new life on earth post touch-down.

In schools the start of the academic year follows on a semi-predicted path from months of preparation.

Perhaps in your lives too.

But what is that re-entry like for the average Christians and their churches?

Ahead lies a familiar routine of services involving a regulated liturgy, or (equally predictable) informal service patterns.

There are annual calendar events – enjoyed but repeated yearly.

Not just Christmas and Easter, but patronal festivals, harvest, messy church, lent courses, Bible Sunday….

And suddenly we are back to September again.

It seems that Rentree in France is also (as we might use new-year resolutions), an opportunity for a fresh look at one’s life-journey – one’s work, one’s family, one’s beliefs…

Many churches have developed mission statements, like a business or other institutions, trying to crystallise why they exist – a sort of personalised creed.

For all of us, churches or individuals, we can review the previous year’s hopes and fears, ambitions and results, then adjust the plans marginally or make root and branch alterations.

How will 2019-2020 be different for you from previous years?

Maybe there are opportunities on the horizon to be grasped.

Sometimes, as for me, things can happen to thwart those hopes, and one is forced back into a more limited role.

Even more opportunity then to reflect and recalibrate: to let go, and let God.

lFind more Thought for the Week columns at