On Sunday we remembered our baptisms and renewed our covenant with God and each other, and we received much positive feedback from it. The many tears at our prayer rail told me that God’s Spirit is mightily working within us as we peer ahead in our own lives and the life of our church in 2019. It seemed a marvelous, worshipful way to begin the new year that holds new expectations.
We are expecting God to “work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We are expecting solutions to emerge for our challenges, answers to our prayers.
We are expecting to be surprised by answers that are sometimes different ... and better than what we prayed for.
We are expecting that by means of grace, that is intentional attention to our spiritual life, we will grow closer to the God who loves us dearly.
We are expecting that in doing so we will grow closer to the new people around us in our mission field who God loves as much as God loves us.
We are expecting that with hardship and because of hardship, we will become stronger in our faith and closer to to all that God loves – empathy, justice and other people.
Such were the expectations of the writer of Isaiah and the writer of the Revelation. Separated by some 700 years, this Jewish writer and Christian writer both proclaimed new and great expectations in the midst of hardship for their peoples. The Israelites were up against the hardships of the Babylonian power and the Christians were up against the hardships of the Roman power. Both writers knew and proclaimed a still higher power – that of God – who is always in the business of making things new for the people and the mission that God loves. This means change, with the certain faith that God is working on all our behalf – an expectation that we can all claim for 2019. Happy new year indeed!
Breathe in peace; breathe out love,