God of the Past, Who by Your Spirit

Hymn #565 in Celebrating Grace Hymnal — “God of the Past, Who by Your Spirit”

[pullquote_center width=”80%”]God of present undertakings, give us wisdom as we build
For our service in Your Kingdom, that Your purpose be fulfilled.
May our vision be far-reaching, and our work by You decreed,
That in building for the present, we discern tomorrow’s need.[/pullquote_center]

The task of building, discerning, visioning for the future is a formidable one, and trepidatious. How are we to know what the future will bring, or how we need to plan for it now? Even more difficult, how are we to know the mind of God for the future? I have enough trouble figuring out what I want for the future; wondering what is best for another can be petrifying. How to keep from being frozen in place, suffering from terminal indecision?

First, I remember that God’s messengers, described as angels in Scripture, use a standard greeting in their interactions with us mere mortals. They say, over and over, “Fear not!” The bare fact that this phrase appears so much in Scripture tells me that fear is a very typical response of those experiencing some call from God. The angels seem to say, “Your fear is a totally normal response to God showing up in your life. Now, step out of that fear and get on with it!”

Then, I would try to remember that building, planning, and discerning for the future of God’s gathered people is not done in a vacuum. When we take on the task of leaning forward, planning for the future of this church, we are surrounded by the “cloud of witnesses” who cheer us on and offer their collective insight. We are also, if we open ourselves to it, blown by the Spirit to seek what is best not only for the present situation, but for the future, the ongoing love story of God’s relationship with all of God’s children.

God, bless us with wisdom, vision, and discernment, as we seek to fulfill Your purpose in our community.

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