This text is part of a reflection on Hebrews 11 given August 7, 2016.
We keep our sights set on God because with all of the grief and hardship around us lately, we need somewhere good and hopeful to set our eyes. One of my favorite prayers is this prayer written Bishop Ken Untener, inspired by Bishop Oscar Romero:
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
So, like the faithful who have come before us, we set our sights on things unseen. We trust in the promises of God. We work for a future beyond our own life. Abraham never saw the descendants he was promised, but God was faithful and they do indeed number the stars. Moses never set foot in the Promised Land, but God was faithful and his people did arrive safely and build a great kingdom. We may not see the culmination of all that we work for or hope for, but God is faithful and there will come a day when the realms of heaven and earth are one, when things are on earth as they are in heaven, when the unseen future we work for is fully a reality in this world. May we keep the faith and keep being faithful as we journey on together.
Let us pray:
Gracious God, our hearts break at the hurts of this world that overwhelm us and that we feel powerless to change. Whenever our hope begins to fade, set our sights once more on you. Light our journey, heal our hearts, strengthen our faith, so that we might live as citizens of your kingdom even as we live on this earth. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.