Posted on: July 1, 2020

From the Pastor

Hope for the Long Haul

In an article about her son’s long-term struggle with a concussion, Debie Thomas wrote:

Hope isn’t about magical results—it’s about the long haul and the long darkness. Hope is robust and muscular and ferocious and long-suffering. Hope never gets so cynical that it can’t be surprised. Hope finds and names God in the world’s most desolate places. Hope kneels on hard ground and yearns without shame. Hope ponders and meditates and ruminates. Hope gets in apathy’s face and says, “No. Not good enough. Try again.” Hope sits in the darkness—outwaiting torture, humiliation, crucifixion, and death—until finally a would-be gardener shows up at dawn and calls us by name.

This summer I have been learning about hope. Not wishful thinking, not dreaming, but robust and muscular and ferocious hope. I have seen us all move from “This virus will be gone by Easter,” to “Maybe we’ll be back in the summer,” to “We’re in this for as long as it takes,” and realize that hope is something that happens over time. I read about the hope of a community in exile in the prophets of the Old Testament. I am finally learning the strength of hope found in the black community who have been excluded from so much for 400 years.

Hope is not fast and it is not easy. It is not about “soon” but “someday.” It is the language of those who have had to depend on God as they see dreams and opportunities fade. It is the hard, slow, often disappointing work of making change. Hope is making everyday decisions based on the vision of something better. Hope is praying, “your kingdom come,” and living as if it was here now.

I invite you to spend some time thinking about what hope is and how it changes you. What are you hoping for? What are you working for? What would you sacrifice for? Then, what grounds your hope, feeds your hope? And finally, how do you pray in hope, and what are your prayers?

Over the next 6 months, Immanuel has set as our vision “sharing hope.” What does that mean? It means we want to keep saying that God is working in this world to create a community of freedom, generosity and care. That what we see now is not all that is. And that the things we do matter.

To share hope,

The Membership team has a goal of connecting every household with 3 other households so no one will be alone.

The Social Action team is creating one-time and ongoing anti-racism learning opportunities as well as continuing service opportunities.

The CYF (children, youth and family) team is designing ways for children to hear the stories of Jesus and know that God is in their world.

All of the work we are doing for the next 6 months are about hope for the long haul through pandemic, isolation, social change and reform. It is about hope for a better Immanuel and a better St. Paul. But most of all it is about connecting us to our greatest hope, the work of Jesus Christ.

In hope,

Pastor Cindy