Last year at this time, I was all excited to begin 2020, the Year of Perfect Vision (get it?). I was particularly excited because it was also my 20th anniversary of ordination as an Episcopal priest. I thought it was the perfect time for big things and big changes in the church, in Creative and Digital Ministry.
Little did I know how big the changes would be...
No one knew how events in 2020 would upend the church and the world. We scrambled to stay safe and care for our neighbors. We struggled to stay online with worship, prayer, sacraments and support. We grieved and we improvised.
And in some ways, it has turned out to be a year in which vision was necessary. Faith, too.
As we say goodbye to 2020 I am revisiting my blog from last New Year's Eve, and checking in on my resolutions for the Year of Perfect Vision, and how they held up.
Here's what I wrote back then:
1. Practice Hope
Hope is our business as Christians. It is the radical notion that no matter how dark it seems out there, no matter how much we suffer, we believe in a God who is redeeming the world, and all those in it. It means we know we cannot fix or save everything, but we know who will. We live in a world that seems woefully short on hope these days. This is our time to share this precious commodity with everyone, every day.
2. Be an online angel 'I am leaving Facebook,' 'I just don't spend that much time online anymore.'
I cringe every time I hear my clergy friends say things like these. They often cite bad behavior, misinformation, and time wasted as the motivation to leave social media - or the internet in general - behind. But this is also proof that clergy - and all ministers! - should be spending MORE time in the digital world.
Online is where most people spend most of their time. That's where the church should be. Social media in particular is desperate for peaceful conversation and deep truth. That's what the church has to offer. If things are difficult or unmanageable, that is exactly where we need to bring the love of God.
Don't quit the online world - bring more love there. Make it the place you want to see.
3. Don't forget the basics Many people ask me where to start with Creative and Digital Ministry. I always say, 'start at the beginning!'
Since most people are not in church these days, there are many who do not know the first thing about the Christian faith. So much of modern religious practice is really ancient - telling the story, gathering around the table, witnessing to miracles and joy.
HOW we do this has changed dramatically over time, but WHAT we share has been the same since Jesus taught his first disciples. It's simply a matter of translating the basics in a new world. We are always called to this.
I think these resolutions applied even when 2020 turned out to be not at ALL what we expected! In the midst of pandemic, politics, protests, and all manner of fear and stress, being hopeful, being present to others online, and telling our story of faith all seemed to be incredibly important ways to ground ourselves and others in the love of God, especially when we need it so much.
Wishing you even more vision in 2021.