Dear friends in Christ,
I love several lines in Phillips Brooks’ beloved Christmas carol, “O little town of Bethlehem.” The last phrase in the first verse is especially poignant to me this year, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
Our God came to dwell among us, and in so doing, our hopes and fears met their redeemer. Ancient people had hopes and fears, and Jesus knew them. Today, we too have hopes and fears, and Jesus knows us and our hearts.
The year that is past certainly brought out many fears. If you’re like me, you are looking ahead in hope right about now. Of course, it’s never that easy. Hope and fear often come together.
At Forward Movement, it’s been a challenging year. We have tried valiantly to offer signs and words of hope. We created new materials to support Christians finding their way at home. We continued to send tens of thousands of copies of Forward Day by Day to people in prison, to nursing homes, to hospitals, and to military bases. We completely shifted how we work so that our ministry could carry on and we could be there when you call or write for help or to place an order.
I haven’t been afraid for Forward Movement’s long-term survival. We will be here for you and the church for decades to come. I’m sure of that. My fears have been simpler: are we really shifting in the best way possible? Are we providing what people need? Can we continue to innovate and create free podcasts and websites during a time of reduced income?
My hopes are much larger than my fears. I hope for a vibrant future for the church, and in some ways this challenging time is pushing all of us in ways we needed to be pushed. I hope the pandemic helps us be more aware of our interconnectedness. I hope when this strange time ends, we live in gratitude for things we might have taken for granted. Of course, I hope suffering is minimal and healing for people and nations comes quickly.
This time of year, you’ll be hearing from a lot of organizations asking for your financial support. At Forward Movement, we always hope you support your local church first and foremost. I also know you might not be in a position to make a financial gift now, and if that’s the case, I’ll ask for your prayers.
If you are able to make a gift to support the ministry of Forward Movement in sharing the love of Jesus Christ who knows all our hopes and fears, I would be most grateful. Your online gift will help us continue to offer what the church needs, even when those needs require us to make something free of charge. Your gift will help us stay strong now, so that we emerge from this pandemic time in good health.
If you have hopes or fears that Forward Movement can address, please let me know. Meanwhile, I wish you every blessing in the year to come.
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Listen to today’s Forward Day by Day reflection on the Forward Day by Day podcast. Find morning prayer on the Morning at the Office podcast and end your day with the Evening at Prayer podcast. Available anywhere you listen!
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