Ok, I admit it. I made the same mistake that I’m sure many of us make at this time of the year. When writing this piece for the eWeekend, instead of designating the year as 2014, out of habit I wrote 2013. I guess old habits are really hard to break. And I’m certain that we all have our share of those that we would like to see removed permanently from our lives. But that’s what’s so special about the beginning of a new year. Although it may be just another day, it has a way of instilling a sense of hope in our hearts that despite what may have taken place the year before, this year is going to be different. And when you think about it, isn’t that what hope does? Despite the darkness that we might be experiencing, hope gives us a vision that there is light at the end of our proverbial tunnel.
Over the past several weeks, I have been sharing with our congregation that the year 2014 has been designated as the Year of Hope for Sligo Church. What that means is that as a people of hope, we must share the hope of Christ’s salvation with those in our world, where for many hope is nothing more than a distant memory. Sure, we can sing We Have This Hope each Sabbath for the next fifty-two weeks, but if we don’t begin to make it our business to share it with those in need, then it really won’t matter how many times we sing it. And by sharing it, I’m not simply suggesting that we just “preach” it, but I’m saying that we must demonstrate what that means in very practical ways.
The other day I placed a comment on Face book that got a lot of attention. My comment centered around one of my favorite quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. which says, “If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” I then added to that statement by saying that it’s time for us (the church) to stop worrying so much about “having” church and it’s time to start “being” the church. And being the church means that we must do more than just preach hope to the world with our mouths; we must also demonstrate this hope with our hearts and with our hands. Because in the final analysis, we are the hands of God and it is through our lives that the world will get a glimpse into the heart of God.
So as we move confidently into 2014, sharing Christ’s hope to the world will be the common thread in everything we do as a church. And my prayer is that as children of hope, we can by God’s grace add more sisters and brothers to the family.