That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me. - Emily Dickinson
Each year during Advent we are asked to think of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love as we prepare the four weeks of before Christmas for God's presence in the stable on Christmas night. Hope is the bird that perches in the soul, even among the storm. While many storms may seem to take pause around Christmas, many are still there, and this year a small "storm" approached when Michael announced his resignation. It is a "storm" that FCCBRLA has been through before, and will progress though again, but a small storm of the unexpected to say the least.
Hope is that thing that perches in the soul despite any storm, and no matter how big a storm may feel. For FCC hope appeared each Sunday in Advent as FCCBRLA welcomed four new members, one on each of the four Sundays in Advent, AFTER Michael made his announcement.
This is great hope for our congregation. People have asked me how I felt about the situation and my thoughts on our next steps, and I have continued to say that I am very hopeful for our congregation. FCCBRLA is in a great place, and certainly in a far better place than 7 years ago. We have some very spiritually driven leaders that are looking forward and discerning God's plan for this community of faith. I am very hopeful for FCCBRLA and know that God has great things in store.
That hope was confirmed each Sunday in Advent as we had four new members join the church; all from different walks of life, and all for different reasons. The fact that four new individuals have joined after an announcement that would change the future of the church, it speaks volumes to the congregation. It speaks volumes to Michael's ministry over the last 7 years and where he has taken the church during his ministry. It speaks volumes to the congregation that there are 4 individuals that trust in the COMMUNITY, and not in just one person, that the community is here to live out God's calling. It speaks volumes to the hope that we can all have in our congregation, and to the places that we will go when we listen to the spirit.
Hope is the thing that perches in the soul and withstands the storms. Hope is the thing that while delicate is also steadfast. Hope is the risk that we are willing to endure because we have faith in the great things that are to come.
As we embrace hope in our final days of waiting for the Christ child, we can also embrace the great expectation we have for the future that will be birthed into our congregation in the months to come. In the same way we have faith in the ways that Christ will change our hearts and lives when we open our hearts to him, we can have faith in the hope that we have for our future as a growing community of faith.