Forward by Paula Harrington

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

Is anyone else concerned with how quickly the past year went by? I don’t want to create mass hysteria, but this can’t be normal. It seems like yesterday I was sitting at my computer and writing about the beginning of 2017. I had picked out the word powerful to be my word of the year. I referred to Ephesians 3:15-19 knowing it was the power of God that had gotten me this far and would continue to see me through. And still throughout the past year, I found myself exhausted, weak, fearful, and unwilling to claim that power. I know that wasn’t and isn’t God. Nope.This is all me. Broken, frustrated, easily annoyed at life, me.

I have a bad habit of finding a comfortable seat on God’s path and refusing to move. I settle in, grab a cup of coffee, and grow sullen at people who claim to love Jesus but are too willing to lose their witness over things like politics and culture. I get annoyed at those so entrenched in tradition or an Utopian lifestyle that the poor and oppressed are blatantly overlooked within our communities and sadly, even our churches. I obsess over things that don’t matter such as what someone said or didn’t say and what I should have replied. Sometimes I embody George Constanza much better than Christ. And still on that path of grace lit by the Creator of the Universe, I roll my eyes at other disciples who think they hold a monopoly on all things spiritual, including the gates of Heaven. I get angry at the weaker brother who holds a congregation captive and the leaders who allow it. I’m great at pointing out and focusing on the negative. But seriously, why is it so much easier to see the speck in your eye when I can’t even find the right keys on my laptop due to the beam in my own? Another year to struggle with doubts, insecurities, and to learn how much I don’t know. So, there’s still all that.

I decided this year, I needed a word that would shake me out of this worldly, drama focused, critical haze. I started looking and listening until one got my attention. Forward. I am so good at being idle. I can waste time on the Internet like it’s nobody’s business. I need forward. Forward thinking. Forward focus. Forward steps. When I quit moving I tend to focus on the here and now which has a way of hampering everything I think and do. Too often I allow that monster full access. I need to be moving forward. Want to join me?

Let’s get out of our comfort zone, shake the worldly dust off our feet, and join Christ in the work he is doing in our communities. Let’s quit focusing on who the enemy says we are and start listening to the one who calls us holy, chosen, and dearly loved. Let’s refuse to be overwhelmed by the world
and underwhelmed with the church. Let’s do the scary things, the uncomfortable things, the bold things. Let’s accept our calling to preach the light in the darkest of places. Let’s speak grace and truth even though it may not be our native tongue. Let’s remember that our Father has created a path on which we are called to walk and work. What good is having it if we refuse to take it? Lord, please give us courage to break out of the fear, failure, or moments of faithlessness and to follow you forward.