What Comes Next?
After all the gifts have been unwrapped, Christmas feasts have been consumed, desserts have been overindulged in, and Silent Night candles have been lit…what comes next? Christmas seems like too big of a deal to end so suddenly, for all the joy and celebrations of the season to be over so quickly. After the tree is taken down, the carols stop playing on the radio, and the rhythm of life returns to business as usual, we’re often left asking, “So, now what?” What does it mean for God to take on flesh and live amongst us in the form of a helpless, vulnerable infant? What effect does Jesus’ birth have on us the rest of the year? How has the coming of the Christ Child decisively altered the course of our lives?
Having spent a significant portion of Advent eating, dreaming, and praying with a small but faithful group of co-laborers in this venture to plant a New Faith Community anchored in FUMC Decatur, I find myself asking this same question. After the initial excitement of the moment settles down, what comes next? How do we share the good news that God has entered into our world and pitched a tent in our own backyard? Over the next six months, we will begin to discern answers to this question by visiting other church plants and historic congregations who have anchored New Faith Communities in recent years. We will explore together the ways God has been at work in other faith communities, and seek to discern who God has called us to be here in Decatur.
As we continue to eat, laugh, pray, worship, dream, plant, and labor together, I ask that you continue to pray with me. Pray for the 10 individuals whom God has called together this past month to begin dreaming and discerning about what planting might look like. Pray for the faith communities we will be visiting who continue to dream about how God is calling them to love and serve their respective communities. Pray for the persons across Decatur and Wise County in whose hearts God has planted the seeds of faith, and whom God has called to be a part of this budding movement. Pray that the good news of Emmanuel, God-with-Us, will disrupt the ordinary rhythms of our daily lives and transform our hearts, our lives, and our world. Pray that God might work in, through, and among each one of us, so that we might be faithful bearers of the Light that has come into the world.
“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness —
on them light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)