At General Assembly last year, we spent a lot of time reflecting on the past and our beginnings. This year, with historical changes in leadership and strategic visioning, we can’t help but keep an eye (or two) on the future. In the time between the two gatherings, I have been thinking a lot about perspective: How do we keep a healthy vision of the past and future, while remaining in the present?
CBF partner, Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) met this morning for their annual gathering. The day’s theme was Hope Beckons: A Celebration of God’s Good Gifts. In worship, we visited the Israelites wandering the deserts after God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. And as I’ve to expect from our predecessors, they were complaining. In the midst of their journey, they could not see beyond the bland manna provided for them. Looking to the past, they envisioned tables of delicious meals in Egypt; In the future, they just saw more manna.
These Israelites, like us, were living in an in-between time. As they struggled to walk toward the future, they could not see God at work in their past or present. But one among them remembered the promise of God, and comes to God with his own complaints and those of his people. Moses, we were reminded by preacher Meredith Stone, “remembered God’s amazing work in the past and God’s promise for the future.” He had the perspective his fellow Israelites lost, and it led him to the Lord.
When Moses approached God with this perspective, God responded! God provided Moses with a community that would share the difficult journey with him.
Worshipping with BWIM reminded me that God does the same for us. If we can maintain a perspective that remembers the wonderful ways God has worked in the past and God’s promise for us in the future, God will respond.
As I looked around the church this morning, I saw God’s response: A community of amazing women and men who are walking this journey together. Some have paved the way for this community to take shape, and others are taking their first steps into this community; either way, we are all together. And BWIM is just one example of Fellowship community!
Together, we are part of a story started long ago. Yes, we are experiencing an “in-between” time in journey, but we have hope that our work in the present will lead us to a beautiful future, because of God’s faithfulness in the past and God’s promise for our future.
What a rejuvenating way to kick off my General Assembly 2012 experience!