Focus Scripture: Zechariah 4:6-7
If we’re going to change communities, we first need to change people. And the people we need to reach most these days are young people. Our children need to be resilient and alert to face the challenges they encounter every day. As responsible adults, we have an obligation to guide them.
The next generation will need to be dynamic individuals, who think for themselves. They have to be individuals who make their own decisions deliberately as opposed to going along with the crowd. They must believe that they have a future with hope. And they need to be able to see their futures from where they stand in the streets and playgrounds of their neighborhoods.
What our children need are strong role models and mentors who are willing to share timeless wisdom. As role models, we need to lift up lessons from the past, lest they are forgotten. We, as role models, can have an influence on the future of our young people – not by power or might, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
Focus Scripture: Revelation 3:20
Life, in many ways, is like a research project. We, as researchers, try to control all the variables in an attempt to rule out the effects of chance. Those of us who have been around for a while realize that when humans are involved there are countless things that could interfere with the desired outcome. Nevertheless, we take note of the anticipated risks, and we proceed, having given our informed consent. Unfortunately, even with all the advanced preparation, the outcomes of our life experiments often fail utterly.
Jesus, on the other hand, is the perfect researcher. Consider this: Jesus controls all the variables; he has stacked the deck against sin and death. The Lord controls the treatment by giving his life on the cross. No elements of chance are involved in the project he conducts because the outcome has already been written before the foundation of the world! Jesus is also sensitive to our needs as human participants. He has informed us precisely what he intends to do. Now he gives us a choice whether or not to participate. “Here I am!” He has said. “I stand at the door and knock.” And like, the perfect researcher, Jesus still waits for us to give our informed consent!
Gracious Lord, thank you for being patient. Give me the strength to open the door to your redemption. Amen.
Focus Scripture: Proverbs 29:18
The fundamental work of the church is saving souls and promoting healing and wholeness among God’s people. One vision for the work involves passing along the gospel message from one generation to the next. Keep in mind that this vision is crucial because “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Making sure the vision remains in sight is no passive activity. The church has to accomplish its work in a mission field where the truth is often obscured. The church’s message has to encourage weary people to remain vigilant. The church must make the vision plain, as it calls out injustice and challenges structures of oppression in our society at large.
In spite of its many challenges, the church must be true to facilitating transformation in our individual and communal lives. The church must be willing to work side by side with wounded people of faith to promote ongoing critical reflection, cultivate well being, and nurture resilience. The church must help the people receive their sight and hold onto their hope.
God of order, help us to unite for the well being of our communities and our children. Remove the blinders from our eyes so that our vision becomes clear.