By Jessica Brodie
A year ago, I remember thinking, “2019 will be a tough season, but at the end, at least we’ll have some answers.” Yet I find myself on the cusp of 2020 with many of the same unanswered questions—What will happen to our denomination with all its division and strife over sexuality? How will our nation fare as politics get dirtier and politicians continue to disappoint? How can we lift up Christ as so many conflicting messages about faith and religion threaten to drown out the Gospel?
Now, as 2020 closes in, I’m seeing articles encouraging me to plan my “vision” for this year, to “sharpen my 2020 focus,” all playing on puns about eyesight—after all, 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity, the clarity or sharpness of vision. The message I’m getting from these so-called experts is that if I’m to be well prepared for the coming year, I’d better do some strong goal-setting.
But what does that really mean for me as a woman of faith, and what does that mean for The United Methodist Church as we prepare to embark on yet another difficult and tumultuous year?
It all makes me wonder whether better vision is really what I need at all.
My mom had cataract surgeries this fall, and I’ve taken her to most of her ophthalmologist appointments. In the process, one of her eyes was corrected so she had sharper, clearer farsighted vision; the other gave her excellent nearsighted vision. While neither eye would do well on its own, used together, the doctor said she had “near 20/20 vision.” My mom was overjoyed with the improvement. “I can read that sign!” she gasped after the surgery, pointing as I drove her through town. “Look—do you see? I had no idea it said that!”
Both eyes were vastly different, but together, they were ideal.
It reminds me of our church, comprised of so many different people with so many different viewpoints and spiritual gifts, yet all working together as the body of Christ with Jesus at the head, which the apostle Paul wrote so eloquently about in 1 Corinthians 12.
I still don’t have my “2020 vision” written out neatly in my notebook with a list of goals for the year, and to be honest, I probably won’t. I don’t need to have my vision perfect in order to be a part of carrying out God’s perfect vision.
Jeremiah 23:16 says, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord’” (NIV).
I’m starting 2020 with a commitment to setting my sights on what God’s vision is for me this year, then doing my part to help make it happen.
By Jessica Brodie