The giant lighted ball has not dropped in Times Square, and Dick Clark is conspicuously absent from our televisions, but it is the start of a new year at our church. The session and the committees are working hard to make goals for next year. We are trying to discern where God is leading this church. I’m excited about the direction that our congregation is heading. We have some wonderful opportunities ahead of us.
I’ve always thought that August seems a better start of the year than January. Perhaps, I have been conditioned by 28 years of schooling--my education, Thomas’ elementary experience, and my time as a public school teacher. I never made resolutions on January 1st. I began mine on the first day of school. For some reason, brand new spiral notebooks and unsharpened yellow pencils have always inspired optimism in me. Maybe I’m weird, but new pencil boxes, new scissors and a new bottle of glue suggested that life had limitless possibilities. The slate was wiped clean, and life began anew.
Unfortunately, the optimism of the first day of school never lasts. Before breaking our first crayon, the world hands out disappointment. We run out of erasers long before we run out of pencils. After countless years, we are again surprised by our broken promises. Still, God remains faithful. Thankfully, hope is not based on new school supplies. God’s kept promises sustain us long after our good intentions like our markers have run dry.
As we prepare for the future of our congregation, we will occasionally face disappointment. All the great plans we make will not turn out exactly as expected. Our discernment is imperfect. Our plans are merely poor reflections of God’s plans. Still, I remain excited and optimistic. “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (Proverbs 16:9) The certainty of God’s love overshadows our missteps. God’s plans do not fail. That is the source of our hope and joy.