I like movies. I like movies with unexpected plots. I like movies that make me ponder. But if I am really honest I like movies with happy endings – the kinds that are best experienced when watching alone. That is, unless you are my son.
My son is expressively uninhibited. During a happy ending he is unabashed in expressing glee. Arms are pumping; cheers of delight fill the room – every director’s dream.
As much as I like a happy ending my enjoyment seems repressed. I feel foolish giving in to the experience. “It is only a movie,” I hear myself say. And so I don a reserved smile, nod my head approvingly, and take a deep breath. But as I look across the room at my son, I can’t help feeling like I am missing out on something.
Celebrating happy endings should come much more naturally for me. I am a person of faith. I believe in a God who specializes in happy endings. Although suffering and sorrow is an inescapable feature of life, my faith speaks of a God active in that sorrow, moving circumstances towards good.
Stepping into this New Year compels me to gather together all the shards of hope I can. Ominous clouds seem to be filling the forecast. There is deep economic uncertainty and anticipated global unrest. Yet even in this context we can be people of hope. Our confidence rests on God’s passion to restore and redeem; a passion that is unrestrained and uninhibited. We can have a sure hope.
I want to be disciplined this year. I want to cling to a confidence in God’s passion. This confidence must be evident:
As we seek to understand and embrace our responsibilities in climate change
As we continue in our Being a Faithful Church process
As we envision new ways of developing Anabaptist faith communities
As we reengage the spiritual discipline of sacrifice
As we strengthen our joyful embrace of stewardship for the work of the church
As in any year, there will times of weeping. There will be times of anxiety. But as a discipline of faith, I want to give in and experience the hope that is offered to us as God’s People. In fact, I might even join my son in some uninhibited celebration whenever we watch a movie together.