Today I took a run and found myself at the future home of New Hope UMC, and their mission statement “A Hope Worth Sharing,” kept going through my mind. My intention was not to run out to the property, but that is where I ended up. I guess I can’t get enough Brunswick hills in the 90 degree heat.
My path took me past apartments, section 8 housing, the High School, doctor’s office, a beautiful development of single family homes, farms, local businesses and much more. I remember the conversations and memories that I have had at different locations on my run with friends and family. While I was caught in a little bit of a daydream, watching some workers from the electric company, I came upon the Olive School Road property.
Pausing my workout, I walked the foundation of the church and prayed. Thinking about the gift that the church has been to me, I prayed. Knowing the blessing the community of faith will continue to be for my family, I prayed still more. I prayed for about a mile, walking the foundation. Imagining the classrooms, worship services, fellowship meals, tough conversations and the movement of the Spirit in that place was humbling.
The simple act of walking and praying, praying and walking, is a powerful spiritual act of discipleship for someone who has a hard time sitting still. Above all I prayed that the church (both in brunswick and universal) may be a place of hope. My hope worth sharing is that the church could be a place where we share in the spectrum of life as we seek to follow Christ more fully. While walking the foundation prayers came of the generations past that laid the foundation for the church, the church of today who put up the walls and calendar of events that are filled with ministry that reaches out to the church of the future.
There is New Hope that we have as disciples. It is not a Star Wars, long long time ago in a galaxy far far away kind of Hope. It’s a hope that is right here right now, in our neighborhoods and schools. Not a lightsaber and jedi mind tricks kind of new hope. It is a hope that finds its place in the open conversations of faith at the pub and in the sunday school classes, in the christmas pageants and the worship celebrations. It’s a hope that bridges community and church in the yard sales, mission trips and softball teams. Above all it is a hope that finds a way in tears of loss, sobbs of unanswered questions and the brokenness of selfish relationships.
This hope worth sharing is bigger than the worst day, or diagnosis or mental illness, or child who makes a poor choice. It is a hope that promises a better way. A way paved with tears of joy not sorrow, a way shalom and completeness, a way that is eternal not temporal.
The best news is that the victory is already won, and we are invited to participate in that victory. WE are called to partner with God in this Hope that is worth building right now!
So now, prayer time over, time to find my way back home.
One mile, one peak, one valley at a time, and with each step trying to proclaim in very ordinary ways an extraordinary “hope worth sharing.”