Plant for the future,
but don’t obscure the vision!
As I sat on a bench in prayer my vision was as far as I could see and that was to the distant horizon. Without vision I will perish, but with it there will always be a horizon.
Our faith takes us on a journey to a horizon, but when we reach it we will have to refocus on a new vision because there will be another horizon. Between my bench and the horizon I could see so much, but there is also a lot I don’t see.
As we reflect on our vision we also identify and prepare for the challenges and problems that will confront us. I saw a problem as I sat on the bench at Badsey Brook Flood Risk Scheme because one day the vision from the bench will be lost. From the bench I could see new trees growing ten yards in front of me and there lies a problem: Our vision is limited to what we can do without thinking that it might perish because of what we do! In a few years we won’t be able to see the wood for the trees!
The bench can be like our churches from where we can build, plant and sow but then obscure our vision so then sit back because there is no horizon to journey toward. It’s not too late to create a long lasting vision for the future, by moving a few trees so the horizon is always visible or, as church, clearing some of the obstacles to a better future.
I will have to articulate my vision this weekend to people I have never met before and I pray they will be open to discovering who they can be rather than protecting who they are! When we grow to be comfortable with who, or what, we are we resist the change and sit behind a clump of trees with no vision of a horizon. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet, is one saying, but I also pray we won’t let the trees grow in front of our eyes.
We plant trees that obscure our vision when we allow money to dictate the direction we travel. Declining congregations equal less income so we reduce the number of ministers so we struggle to maintain the life of the church. MY VISION is of a Church prepared to sacrifice her life to grow the Kingdom of God because then she will find new life.
MY VISION is that the presence of Christ will be living in community with a Love that is so strong that people feel it, see it, hear it, know it and like it so much that they will want to be part of it. In working to build the Kingdom we will give new life to the Church because people will want what we’ve got in our hearts to be in their own.
I will be sharing my vision at a meeting with young people somewhere else tomorrow evening so there will not be a Friday evening Zoom service. Next week though I invite you to consider YOUR vision of where our mission is leading us and what the Church can look like. I am sure it will be a part of your discussions at Church Meeting tonight and my prayers will be with you.
The Kingdom is not a treasure to hide for ourselves (Matthew 13:44), because your heart will be hidden with it (Matthew 6: 19) and if you put money first it means that God must be second! (Matthew 6: 24) If God is our number one relationship people and money will follow and the kingdom will grow, but the kingdom can’t be bought with money. If we depend on money rather than God our mission will loose direction and the vision become blurred by what we plant with the best of intentions.
This is the Easter season and we continue to celebrate the Risen Christ and MY VISION is that we will receive the Holy Spirit he breathes into his disciples and go out to do what he was sent to do which is to reveal the Kingdom of God that is in us to everyone we meet. The presence of Christ in a community WILL bring people to Church when that presence is in the heart of people with a vision for the kingdom which is somewhere on the horizon so don’t plant, or build, something that can obscure your vision!