Pastoral Message: October 2017
It is worth remembering that most of the things that rule our lives are things we cannot see. Scientists remind us that we are surrounded by magnetic fields, electric currents, radio waves, and the universal force of gravity, which are invisible yet omnipresent in this world. Psychologists point out that interior thoughts, passions, tastes, moods, morals, and decision-making processes also do their work invisibly within our human minds and souls. In so many ways, the invisible world governs the visible world like a shadow government, hidden out of sight within each of us individually and all of us collectively.
Most unseen forces do their work in the present moment. Gravity causes the apple to fall right now. Electromagnetic waves move through us each moment, just as our minds constantly process ideas, thoughts, and emotions in real time. But it is worth noting that some invisible things are focused on the future. And the most important one in this category is the invisible power of hope.
Hebrews 11:1 famously defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hope is a key component of faith. It is an assurance and conviction, a power and energy active within us as we look toward the horizon of what is yet to come. Hope energizes us now by allowing us to envision how things ought to be: if not right now, then in the immediate future. It is the invisible image of what we hope for our family and all of God’s creation—which even though unseen, gives us the clear idea of what needs to be done today for the sake of tomorrow.
Christian hope is a powerful force. It is the spirit behind our upcoming mission-oriented worship services during the month of October. We hope for an end to racism, a spirit of reconciliation and welcome for people exiting the criminal justice system, legal safeguards for children and LGBTQ people of all ages, and a renewed commitment to being an inclusive society able to navigate the needs of citizens and immigrants alike. Our hopes allow us to compare what is against what should be, ever guided by the example of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit. And as scripture reassures us, faith, hope, and love all abide, therefore we trust the Lord as we walk by faith, if not by sight.
Unseen powers are at work in your life. In your moments of prayer and quiet reflection, open yourself to the invisible, grace-filled activity of God. As you picture what you wish for yourself and those you love, shape your actions today around the mental image Christ has given you of what is to come. Let everything be done in a spirit of hope. For although it may be invisible, it is one of the strongest forces this world has ever seen!