As I consider the new year, asking what kind of person I want to become seems boring, mundane and a bit self-centered. But asking what kind of future God wants me to join Him in creating stirs my heart. This kind of question leads me to consider how a kingdom-shaped way of being in the world changes what I do in the world. It invites me into a life that takes Jesus seriously as I follow Him with a beloved community committed to dealing out love, peace, restorative justice and hope, in a world desperate for the same.
Undoubtedly this will lead to a holy adventure. 2015 is sure to be an exciting new year filled with an unpredictability and risk so confounding, that me and my family will be forced to rely solely upon God’s provision and grace. This will become our joy.
The best part of all this is that I cannot go at it alone. The life of a triune God reminds me that I’m a part of a larger story He is telling and it is intertwined with the lives of those I encounter day-to-day. Even more, I am uniquely and eternally joined with others that have professed Jesus as Lord. Together we are invited to participate in God’s life-giving presence and work to make His love and reign tangible to all, right here and now. We’ll have to wrestle with this particular way of life together as it pushes against society’s normal way of doing things (and all its self-seeking, self-asserting ways dressed in the clothes of consumerism and civil religion) and learn to submit to the Cross-informed way of self-giving love and gracious hospitality.
I know that 2015 will have its share of disappointments and unmet expectations. There will be failures and frustration, suffering and lament. But there will also be grace and forgiveness, a hope that is relentless, a love unconditional and the company of God’s beloved community–His Church. I know this to be true because Jesus is Lord, and where Jesus is Lord grace and love reigns.
Jesus is Lord. This will be my greatest confession in 2015. All expectations will hinge upon these three words. And when I begin to lose my voice or lose the strength to utter these words in bold humility, His people will be there to remind me, beginning with my wife and son.
In 2015, may my family live fully into the future God wants us to join Him in creating as we experience life in His beloved community, both for the good of others and to the praise of His glory.