Anniversaries of any sort provide tremendous opportunity to check ourselves – to reconsider our long-term dreams, and evaluate how the past year has fitted into that perspective. Daily life is lived out of a context in which the demands and structure of each day provide its own sense of reality. When these tasks and challenges of each day repeat themselves often enough, we are tempted to succumb to them as the ultimate purpose of life – things such as keeping the house clean, the “to do” pile under control, minimising and managing conflict in our work situation. [On reflection, it is worth considering how much of our life’s routine is about keeping things “in control”.]
What we do each day is a gradual unfolding of our life’s plan and purpose. But it is easy to lose the connection between the daily tasks of life and the greater sense of God’s call upon us, both as individuals and as a church. Routines of services and activities can easily become the end goal rather than the means by which we fulfill a greater calling.
And so as we come to our annual meeting today, we seek to place the daily and weekly routines firmly back into the context of “the dream”, reflecting on the past twelve months in the light of God’s calling, and looking again to that future which is embodied in “the dream”.
time the Russian Revolution was unfolding, the Russian Orthodox Church
was holding its synod, where the major item of debate was the colour
of the liturgical vestments. It is a sobering reminder of how easily the short-term challenges and routines can cause us to miss the bigger picture.
And so, as we come to an annual meeting and reflect upon the past 12 months in ministry, we do so in the light of God’s call and vision for us as a church. How has this past 12 months moved us forward in the purposes of God? What new challenges has He brought to us? What key moments stand out? What things bring pain in our memory? What opportunities were taken? What were lost? And as we look to the new year, we ask God to clarify and renew His dream for us.
To pick up the theme from Ezekiel of recent weeks, “Where has the glory of the Lord been seen in the past 12 months, and where is it moving to now?”
An annual checkpoint such as this is a critical moment to seize. By the grace of God, may we do so well.
July 28, 2002