As the 20th anniversary of 9-11 approaches, it is natural for us to remember and even experience again the anguish and confusion brought about by watching the fall of the Twin Towers, the impact at the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania. That calm September morning changed us–and our perception of the world around us–in profound and lingering ways.
And now, with this continuing pandemic, not to mention the hurricanes and wildfires, the uncertainty abroad and the polarization at home, it is no wonder that many of us feel uneasy or even frightened about the future. If we ever needed a plan for encouragement—we need it now.
God’s people in exile that Jeremiah addressed in his letter must have felt even more uncertain than we do. They had been uprooted from their homes, driven into exile in Babylon and seen their own nation destroyed. Where would they find hope for their future, and where do we find hope for ours?
The answer is found with God: specifically, in the plans God has in mind for us. God desires life together with us and calls out to us to repent and return to our heart’s true home. To be with God is to be at peace—complete and utter peace—and to be blessed with love, joy and all other gifts of the Spirit. That’s what coming home to God looks and feels like—no matter where we find ourselves in this world. As we know all too well, the plans that we make don’t always turn out the way we’d hoped they would. But God’s plans are not our plans. They always do work out—for good—even in the darkest and most difficult moments of our lives. They do because God’s plans are not so much about what we will do, or where we will live, or what we will have. They have to do with the power and promise of the Kingdom, here in the midst of life. Knowing that God loves us, forgives us and will never forsake us brings us joy, strength and faith to face all our obstacles unafraid. And even when facing the greatest obstacle: our death—we know that because of Jesus Christ, not even that can separate us or our loved ones from the love of God which is from everlasting to everlasting.
This Sunday, we invite you to “come home” to First Church as we welcome this Fall season and look forward to our life together in Christ. Our Sanctuary and Bell Choirs will be praising God, and we will partake in the ordination of our leaders, the baptism of our children and the dedication of our beautiful Celtic Memorial Cross. After worship, there will be food and fellowship to enjoy as we live out these plans that God has made, with courage and with gratitude for “a future filled with hope.”
Blessings on you,