During Advent this year, I am going to share photo reflections upon the devotions written by the congregation that I serve…Yesterday was the first day of Advent and the devotion was one of the ones that I wrote and it was focused on the passage from Isaiah which focused on that day when “He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Then our guest preacher that morning shared a powerful message using that passage and the one from Matthew which speaks of what feels like an “end times” message. And one piece of his message really stood out. He said when speaking about the kingdom of God (and I think I’m paraphrasing a bit)…”We cannot have hope for the not yet if we don’t have hope in the already.”
Hope in the already…hard to do sometimes when the already seems pretty messed up in a lot of ways. But we are able to make a transforming difference in the already right now. This picture speaks that to me. It is in a garden as you enter one of our local UCC congregations. It was carved out of the trunk of a tree on the property that had to be cut down. So that big beautiful tree was transformed into this beautiful representation of peace and hope. Already and not yet…Hope in both.