By Bishop Todd Townshend
Many organizations, including Anglican churches, spend part of January planning for the future.
Part of our planning is done through the work of Annual Vestry Meetings when we celebrate God’s faithfulness by reviewing the previous year, planning for the year ahead, electing and appointing representatives, and authorizing leaders to help us carry out the mission.
This work is not always easy, nor always enjoyable. Yet, in my experience, when it has been enjoyable it is because there was a real spirit of hope underlying the work. When genuine Christian hope is the dynamic foundation of our community, we find great satisfaction and joy—even when we do not know what the future holds!
It may be that two years of living in a pandemic has diminished your energy. That is difficult enough, but it would be much more threatening if this time has diminished your hope. I don’t mean your sense of optimism or your positive energy, I mean that deep, grand, hope that God puts in us. In Christ, we live and move in an ocean-sized-hope that is given as we remember that God created everything with nothing more than a spoken word. We live and move in the hope that is given when we see Jesus alive, raised up from the death imposed upon him, never to die again. We live and move in the hope that comes from knowing that the Holy Spirit of God is leading and animating our life together, even now.
This is a good time for that kind of hope. A clear-eyed, truth-seeking, God-given kind of hope. Hope, when it comes alive in us, is not just confidence in the future or confidence that there is a future for us. It is also a confidence that there will be some continuity from our past into our future. The future may look quite different, but it will still be “me” and it will still be “us” and the truth will still be the truth, and our future will still be tied in relationship to the deepest reality there is – God – who does not go away from us, who does not abandon us. Quite the opposite. God is still coming to us and drawing us into God’s future.
Therefore, we can plan some things and we can only wonder about other things. May it be for us a time of faithful imagination and deepening commitment to the One who promises to be with us through it all and at the end of it all.
God will keep God’s promises—and, even as we venture into 2022 not knowing exactly what the future holds, we can trust that God holds the future. Thanks be to God.