The psalms say sing for joy, and with God everything is possible. Paul tells his little churches to be very clear-headed in the face of difficulties. Ours is a faith of hope and encouragement. We need that. And we also need truth-telling, otherwise we are just delusional. Jesus was good at truth-telling. While we live with hope, we can’t let it run wildly ahead of reason. That’s why Paul has to remind the Thessalonians to stay focused and not be misled.
The key to hope is growth – expansive, active spirits – and the key to growth is change. Change is necessary for growth. Plants, animals, children and institutions change; and they grow. Or they die. Change can be large or small, but Island needs to be intentional about it. Change will push our comfort zones. Those who are not here need to know that we welcome them on their terms and do not idolize the status quo. Jesus didn’t, and we can’t afford to either, else we will fade away as a church. All of our gifts and ideas are important. We need a much better digital presence, more community outreach and social activities, … and we need to be very real about what our true capacity is to do something with our land, and not pretend. Some changes might create friction. Oh, wow – that’s what Jesus did! Well, I am not Jesus, but I am a follower.
Sing, be part of the joy of this community, follow Jesus, be strong, and ready to change.