May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace. Romans 15:13
We are a people in need of hope for this next year. After two years of the Covid pandemic with its health restrictions, our economic and educational challenges, the loss of loved ones, and the endless political conflict around us, many folks are feeling hopeless about the future.
But when God became flesh in the form of a little baby born in Bethlehem named Jesus Hope arrived for all of us regardless of the difficult circumstances we face.
Ultimately, our hope is not built on the changing and challenging circumstances around us. Our ultimate hope is in the God revealed in Jesus Christ who promised to love us unconditionally and to be with us and walk with us into whatever the future may hold. When we refuse to participate in the negative, cynical and self-defeating conversations around us and believe that "with God, all things are possible" hope is reborn in our lives and, as St. Paul says, "the God of hope will fill us with joy and peace."
Our leaders at St. Luke's have given us a new mission statement for a time like this which focuses on finding and giving hope through Jesus Christ.
St. Luke's United Methodist Church is an open community of Christians helping people to find and give hope through Jesus Christ.
In other words, we go into 2022 with a commitment to bringing the hope and love of Jesus Christ to hopeless people and thereby allowing Jesus Christ to change the world through us.
I pray that all of us will bring a Hope-filled new year to all those around us.
Happy (and Hopeful) New Year!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Kent Millard, President United Theological Seminary