I had the chance to meet this week with my ECO pastors covenant group. With the carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and its line about “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in you tonight” as a prompt, we were encouraged to frame our check-in with one another by identifying some of our current hopes and fears.
A common theme with our hopes and fears was around how the Church responds to this multi-layered crisis we find ourselves in. Our fear, of course is that the Church will fail to live into its calling as the body and bride of Christ and that our work as pastors will be in vain. Our hope, though, is that the Church will rise to this moment and be used by God to advance his kingdom.
Now the truth is both these hopes and fears are met in our Lord who was incarnate that first Christmas and who is with us even now. In the face of fear He tells us to be strong and courageous and to not be afraid. Our hope is in him and our hope, as Romans 5 reminds us, does not put us to shame. Amen.