“What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13: 37
I love the way this verse in Mark ends – it’s an assertive reminder for us to be alert to the presence of God.
It’s counterintuitive but this year has reminded me that in times of great challenge we often see remarkable things we wouldn’t see when things are more normal.
Are we watching for these things more amidst life’s challenges or does the presence of God appear more often when we’re facing a tough situation? I’m not sure but I’ve been watching Highland Park this year and I’m seeing the presence of God on so many fronts.
As an example, putting on a worship service outdoors isn’t something any of us were planning on when this year started. Yet what first seemed like a monster hassle has turned into an opportunity to reach new people and be more visible in our neighborhood, even as we work to improve the virtual viewing experience for our members at home.
Our staff has done a tremendous job embracing this opportunity and, as a result, we’re seeing plenty of new faces. We have seen bikers stop and pull into the parking lot to listen to the sermon. We have had a couple drive by, go home and grab chairs, and come back for the service. We have even had a firefighter set up a chair across the street to participate in the service.
Yes, we’re out of the sanctuary but we’re also out of our routine and, as a result, we’re seeing new opportunities for our church. In fact, if we’re watching closely, we’re seeing a lot to be hopeful about in the midst of a very trying year.
This Advent I encourage you to be more intentional about watching for God in your daily life – particularly in experiences that are different based on the pandemic. I think you’ll see what we’re seeing at Highland Park – the hand of God at work and much to be excited about as we head into 2021 together.