One of the closing lines of the United Methodist funeral service is “draw those of us who remain in this life closer to one another, and give us the courage to face the future unafraid.”

Many of us are afraid of what the future may bring, worried about everything from the economy to the election to the Supreme Count to the pandemic to global warming.  It’s easy to worry when there’s so much to worry about.  But what else might the future hold?

At some point in our church, we’re going to need people to sign up for Coffee Hour again, because we’re going to be so happy for the ability to mill around, catch up, and eat pastries.  Make plans now to be on that list!  I also think our fall picnic can just as easily become a spring or summer picnic, whenever we’re back to serving food again.  And do cookie sales have to take place only at Christmastime?

What will the post-pandemic church look like?  Across the board, people are reporting increased faith, prayer and Scripture reading ~ watering the seeds of faith outside of churches as they wait for the all-clear to return.  We could see a global revival along with a realignment of priorities, focusing on community service, outreach and universal welcome.  I’m looking forward to seeing what God has planned.

This being said, I’m also looking forward to a lot of vacations.  I haven’t taken any this year (along with the rest of the country) and when tourism rebounds, it’s going to rebound strong.  Hawaii may even run out of leis.

It’s nice to imagine that maybe ~ maybemaybemaybe ~ people will emerge from this crisis a little kinder, a little gentler, more appreciative of each other, more aware of God’s blessings, and that the age of selfishness and self-absorption may be winding down, replaced by a sense that everything good is fragile and precious.

All of these things are possible ~ just as possible or even more possible than the thought that everything will go wrong.  If can’t predict our earthly future with accuracy, why not choose to think positively about what may come?  Robert Schuller calls this peace of mind through possibility thinking.  One day we’ll be hugging each other again, laughing, crying, eating Dunkin’ Munchkins and praising God, possibly all at the same time.  Visualizing the good things God will send produces the joy of anticipation.  “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).