Our text today is from John 16:12-15:
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Why don’t we know what we need to know? Why don’t we know where we are headed and what our future looks like? Jesus, in his last moments with his people let them know…simply that they don’t know yet…but that one day they will. I can’t help but wonder if that was perhaps less than helpful…less than comforting. Isn’t there anything else you can tell us? Don’t we already know that we don’t know?
On Friday I came home from annual conference, where it took more than 15 ballots to get our lay people to elect the people who will make the decisions about how the church will go forward in 2020. It is an incredibly mixed group and there is much work to be done in the greater UMC and the way forward isn’t as clear as I wish it were. But we do have our next steps, our next conversation groups, our marching orders until next year and for now that is enough, even when we wish it were more.
As the pastor of this little body, there isn’t a day I didn’t wish I knew more about our future, our direction. I have a general direction. I know our next steps. I know the two year plan, but I don’t know exactly how things are gonna shake out. I don’t know what the church will look like in 15, 10, even 5 years. I just don’t know.
Perhaps you too? Perhaps you also are at a personal cross roads. And even if you THINK you know, the fact of the matter is you don’t. You don’t know, and you don’t know what you don’t know. I was supposed still be a teacher. I was supposed to be living in Indianapolis, I even had the neighborhood I was going to live picked out, if not the actual house. Yet here I am, spending my entire adult life in Atlanta, living in a house in a neighborhood I had never heard of, and being the head pastor of a church wasn’t on the radar until I was asked to do it.
God works in mysterious ways, and friends as I thought about the text this week, I realized what good news that mystery really is. We still don’t know anything. God is still revealing it to us, and that isn’t a design flaw. That is how God has orchestrated it from the beginning.
God’s work being a mystery keeps us close the the creator.
God’s work being a mystery keeps us close to the redeemer.
God’s work being a mystery keeps us close to the sustainer.
All of that is good news, especially on Trinity Sunday.
Because we don’t know the HOW, but we do know the WHO. The who is our triune God, and so we can trust that the how will be accounted for well. Just like Jesus explains to his disciples that because they know Him they know the father, we know God by the way God relates to us.
New Hope has been eeking along for years, and there the people are faithful because God has been faithful to them. They do not always know how, but they do know who. They do know who is caring for them and just how faithful that God is.
At conference I was asked to think about long term planning. I have some emails and grant applications out but I would appreciate your prayers. I have more I don’t knows and perhapses than any good leader is supposed to have. That’s ok. God is showing me how to walk it out.
Please pray for, provision for tiny houses that could be section 8 housing in Atlanta.
Relationships with the neighborhood that we could build something across all people.
A woman who is seeking residential drug treatment.