Dearest Hope Family,
What a first week of the new year!
I am writing to you on Thursday afternoon, and I am still somewhat shaken and nursing the lingering effects of watching the violent, destructive mob overtake the Capitol building yesterday. Perhaps you are like me – dismayed, lamenting the seemingly unbridgeable divides in our country, and longing for redemption, peace, and hope. The fact that such an ugly and dark day for our country took place on the Christian holiday of Epiphany should not be lost on us. Epiphany is the celebration of Jesus, the newborn King, being manifested and fully revealed to the Magi. It is because of the darkness of days like yesterday that the bright light of Jesus’ kingship shines with beauty and anticipation for those who trust in him – not merely as the newborn King but resoundingly as the King of Kings, the Risen and Conquering King, the one upon whose shoulders the government rests securely – ultimately superior to America, Christian Nationalism, any president, any elected official, or any apparently mighty mob. King Jesus reigns. Not Trump. Nor Biden. Therefore, we have hope in the darkness, anticipation of beauty amidst the ugly and broken, the sure promise of justice and righteousness in the midst of injustice and unrighteousness.
Part of the anticipation of what lies in front of us as Hope Church is voting upon the emerging leadership for our congregation. We have had two men from our church engage in the process to be ordained to the office of Deacon at Hope: Nick Hansell and Shawn Wilson. You can learn a little more about Nick and Shawn in their brief bios included in Looking Up today.
These men were nominated by you, the congregation. They have given themselves to months of theological and practical training, and they have been examined as to their character and capacity to fill this crucial role in the life of the church, and they come to you with the recommendation of the Session to serve in this office. The final step along the path is for us to approve them by a congregational vote at our meeting on Sunday morning. Once approved, we will set aside time in one of our worship services to ordain and install them as Deacons. Then the real fun begins for everyone!
If you are a member of Hope, you are invited to vote at either of our in-person services on Sunday morning. We will have ballots available and clear instructions for how to cast your ballot. Unfortunately, we are not authorized by our Book of Church Order to offer proxy or virtual votes. So please make plans to be in person either indoors or outdoors on Sunday.
Please pray for these godly, gifted men and ask for God’s wisdom and blessing as we vote as a congregation.
The first Epiphany for the Magi was a dawn of illumination and revelation that continues to shine brighter and brighter until full day. Don’t let the shadows and dark clouds deter you from where your true hope, true security, and true faith rest.
Peace of the Risen Christ,