Great Expectations – Take Two

Being a history-minded person, I like to look back from time to time. With that in mind, I looked back at my Connection article from May of last year. That article was titled “Great Expectations” and in it I spoke in part about the expectations that most of the sports world had placed on my beloved Chicago Cubs. I even wondered if this “could finally be “the year?”’

Well it certainly was as my Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. The expectations now are for them to repeat last year’s success, but so far they are not living up to that challenge. It is a long season and I fully expect they will make the playoffs and maybe even clinch another championship.

But it does raise some questions in my mind. Is it easier or more difficult to succeed when everyone expects you to? Do you thrive on pressure or does it get the better of you? Do you work best when you’re up against a deadline or when you can move at your own pace?

Likewise, what expectations do you have for our church community? For our denomination?

These are precarious days as we try to imagine what our United Methodist Church will look like in the not too distant future. Will we still be “United?” Will the Bishop’s “way forward” really become a way apart?

None of us can honestly predict how that will play itself out. The picture is just too big and too far beyond our ability to imagine. What we can more safely say is that our church, like hopefully all other UM churches, will continue to offer a faithful witness to our neighborhood, our city and our world.

In just a few weeks Pastor Kelly and I will again be at Annual Conference. What might I expect of that time? On the plus side Julie will be with me, which is always good. Also, I will see lots of old friends and maybe make some new ones. Our missional giving will again be recognized as we are one of the select few churches to have met all the requirements of The Rainbow Covenant. On the down side, I imagine there will be the usual spoken and unspoken infighting that has been a part of every Annual Conference I’ve ever attended. And so, like the rest of life itself, I’ll try to hang on to the good and leave behind the not so good. The trick always is to leave room for the Spirit to do its work…both within our communities and churches and most importantly…within us.

May it be so!

Pastor Andy