McConnellsburg United Methodist Church
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Growing on a Life Changing Adventure with Jesus!

Notes from the Pastor


Looking Forward With Hope

      As another year comes to a close, we are encouraged to look back over the last 365 days and see where life has taken us and our families.  For some of us, 2016 has been a year of great joy. Children celebrated marriages.  Babies were born.  Some of us experienced changes for the better in our job situation.  And still others received miraculous healings from physical maladies and busted relationships.

     Yet, not everyone had such an awesome 2016.  For some of us, this year has not been a banner year.  Daily trials and tribulations seem to come on the heels of other heartaches.  It has been hard to even catch a breath in the midst of our pain.  Some folks have experienced the terrible loss of a loved one while others have had to hear the horrible "C" word spoken by our physicians.  Still others, like myself, have had to watch family members suffer the consequences of poor decision making and end up in prison.  Life, it seems, had not played fairly with us and those we love.  So, how do the broken move forward with hope?

     Let's expand that question, how do we ALL move forward with hope?  Answer:  we cling to the promise of newness that God offers through Jesus Christ.  Consider the story of two prophets in the second chapter of Luke's Gospel.  The first prophet is a righteous man named Simeon, who was awaiting a sign from God that change was coming for the Israelite people. When the baby Jesus was brought into the Temple to be circumcised, Simeon was instructed by the Holy Spirit to go and see the new thing that God was bringing to pass.  Upon witnessing Christ, Simeon embraced Jesus and praised, "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared (2:29-32)  Simeon moved forward with hope by being obedient to the nudging of the Holy Spirit that put him in a position to see with his own eyes the new thing God had prepared for him and his people.  He then embraced the child and his free gift of salvation.  Shortly thereafter, a prophetess named Anna arrived on the scene.  She too had been waiting for God to reveal his plan for redemption.  When she saw Jesus, she gave thanks to God and testified to all who would listen about God's mighty plan of change.

     What wisdom then do we receive about moving on through the actions of these faithful prophets.  First, if we want to head on into 2017 with hope, we have to put ourselves in a position to see our salvation.  That means that we hang with Jesus more often.  Begin the New Year with a new routine of holiness.  Get into the rhythm of attending weekly worship.. Join a small group. Volunteer in ministries of peace, justice, and mission.  Be where Jesus is and you'll be blessed to see him.  Secondly, when you see him, embrace him!  Don't come timidly to your redemption.  Grab onto him and remain steadfast.  Cling to Jesus and I promise you, your new year will be a blessed one.  Lastly, from Anna, give thanks to God for the new thing your eyes have seen and tell everyone you know that you have a new hope.  I am praying that all of us will be able to look back on 2016 as a year when hope was born anew in our lives.

     With anticipation and hope,

      Pastor Robin