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Prediction - Monday Musing, January 3, 2022

Dear Church,

Prediction – to forecast, indicate in advance, or foretell based on observation, experience, or scientific reason. While New Year’s resolutions receive great press at the start of a new year, a subtle phenomenon oftentimes overlooked are those who make predictions about the coming year. Experts in their fields predict political, economic, business, science, and cultural events. Are these “talking heads” looking into a crystal ball to see what the world in 2022 is going to look like? Is this future-gazing actual analysis or simply speculation (aka guessing)?

We were initially told at the very start of the global pandemic in March 2020 that everything would be resolved in two weeks. Weeks turned into months, which turned into years. When the coronavirus vaccines were released early last year, we thought (prayed) this would be the end of the pandemic. Surely this scientific miracle would stop the spread of this disease, right? Who could have predicted the pushback from people not wanting to be vaccinated? The result – a fortified Delta variant, and now Omicron. Is it even possible to predict when this pandemic will be over?

The funny thing about people who make predictions each year in their fields of expertise – the odds of their being right are 50/50. A prediction will either come true or it will not. I suppose the same could be said of New Year’s resolutions, but we would be kidding ourselves to think that those odds are any better! Why make a prediction about a topic or issue in the first place? Does making a prediction show insight or hidden knowledge?

On my Facebook feed yesterday, I saw a meme of two characters – one on its knees digging in the dirt, the other standing behind – on what appears as 2022 on the ground. The standing character asks, “Aren’t you terrified of what 2022 could be like? Everything is so messed up…” The kneeling character responds, “I think it will bring flowers.” The stander says, “YES? WHY?” To which the kneeler replies, “Because I’m planting flowers.”

All churches face challenges, even before the coronavirus hit. So what will our community of faith look like in 2022? Will we succumb to predictions of the demise of Christendom, or will we live words attributed to Mark Twain who said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Where is the hope if we think dire predictions about the future?

A January tradition for me is to reflect on the words of Rev. Howard Thurman:

“The Work of Christmas”

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among others,

To make music in the heart.

Thurman’s words continue to give me hope, year after year. May we as a Church resolve together to plant flowers in the year ahead. See you in church!



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