March 15 marks the one-year-anniversary of restrictions being established for in-person worship and other congregational gatherings due to the reality of the coronavirus. When the restrictions were established last March, I hoped they would only be for a few months. I was wrong. As the months have now been pressed into a year, I have discovered the importance of keeping your vision on the hope of where you are headed even as you live in the reality of where you find yourself in the present. This process of hope presses the present and the future together through the process of faith as described in Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
During the past year, I have witnessed how our congregation lives in the process of hope as defined in the reality of Hebrews 11:1. In observing your care extended to each other and to our surrounding community, your generosity, and your faithfulness while adapting to our current reality, I have come to new understandings of what it means for faith to be defined as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Here are some of the things I have learned as the present and the future have been pressed together during the past 12 months:
- Faith is both an acknowledgment of the realities of the present and the possibilities of the future.
- Hope is more than envisioning a new reality; hope is about adapting to the present reality through the vision of a future that is different from the present.
- Faith is not only about hoping that things will be different one day in the future; faith is about living in the difference that hope makes for today.
- Hope is not only about living in the vision of a changed future; hope is about making decisions in the present that will change the future.
- Faith and hope are the interweaving of the present and the future through the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.
As we begin a second year of a new reality for our congregation, I pray that each one of us will live in the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
(If you would like to share what you have learned about faith and hope during the past 12 months, please email me at MarcBrown@vaumc.org. I will be happy to share your learnings with our congregation in next month’s newsletter.)