Sunday, March 18, 2012

Signs of Hope

In the midst of global crises, domestic politics and information overload, there are some wonderful signs of hope. Right now there are unspeakable tragedies occurring; there are also amazing triumphs of the Spirit. While we wrestle with who will be the next President of the USA, millions of people around the world are finding common ground is the battles against AIDS, hunger and slavery. Internet blogs abound with accusations and ad hominem attacks; however, people of diverse backgrounds are finding hope for their communities as they work for justice.

This week in Nashville, Tennessee I joined with scores of Christian leaders from across the nation and from around the world for a time of worship, reflection, discussion and partnership in mission. Leaders from almost every tradition and all continents were represented at this Messenger Fellowship Summit. We diverged on some areas of theology and politics and engaged in intense conversations about moral and theological integrity. All of us expressed respect for the authority of Scripture and how to walk in unity even while we disagree on issues. Leaders from Columbia, England, France and the Ivory Coast helped us see our faith with new eyes, instead of an American-centric lens. There was profound agreement on the core of the faith, the call for holiness and the need to empower all church members for living in a world of change. My faith grew, my hope increased and my love for God and others was revitalized.

A few days earlier I met with seminary professors from diverse Evangelical traditions concerning integrating faith and economics, worship and work. We were from different denominations and geographies, but we discovered profound points of unity as we shared about preparing our students to serve their churches. This Kern Family Foundation moment provided another boost to my innate hopefulness. When thoughtful people gather with humility and a common mission, great things can happen.

Watching my colleagues and students at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary learn and serve inspires me every day. The creativity, faith and insights of women and men from their 20s to their 80s helps spur me forward. There is a good blend of idealism and realism as the challenges of missional living are explored.

The stories from my facebook friends offer hope as well. Even as we wrestle with the loss of loved ones, financial and physical challenges, it is encouraging to see the prayer, support and mutual respect that connects thousands of people around the world. Friends in all spheres of life are bringing so much good to the world for the glory of God.

Today is a Sunday. It is a good moment to be thankful. I will continue to comment incisively on events. I will be unsparing in exposing evil and uncompromising on some crucial issues. But it is right to unveil the greatness found in the acts of service carried out by so many humble friends. It is healthy to pause and remember the faithfulness of so many moms and dads even as we redeem the victims of divorce. it is honoring to God to remember that we are part of a global family as well as citizens of the USA. Let's look for signs of hope - and perhaps place one in the soil of our community as we serve others.

No comments: