Rev Andrew Syme, Interim Principal at Tranby College, shared devotions to close the 44th Annual Meeting of the Synod of WA, on Sunday afternoon, 13 September.
He reflected on the theme Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, has chosen for three year term: Overflow with Hope.
“We think a good deal about the loving and compassionate nature of God, but perhaps not so much about the nature of the future,” he said.
“Not the God who we own, not the God who is ours to possess. But the God who is only ever before us.
“Hope is not the end point to which we look, but rather the beginning point.
“A hopeful Christian lived experience is not simply a reflection of our present reality. Hope does not arise from our experiences, but is the condition of a possibility of new experiences.
“It exists for the reality that is coming. Hope does not deny our lived reality, but is a way of perceiving the reality for all its joys and sorrows.
“We see God forever calling us forward as we participate in this renewal when we can. We participate in the renewal that God has already initiated.”
Andrew continued by sharing how God’s hope is seen in the work of the Uniting Church WA, reflected in information heard and in events that had occurred over the weekend of the meeting.
“We have seen glimpses of such a God at work,” he said. “Our call for increased housing efficiency, the Assembly President, despite COVID, pressing forward with webinars. For round tables to think about our images of God from Job; the Presbytery to think about establishing a new congregation; and for Covenanting to call for us to consider Indigenous children in care.
“Hope is not an excuse for other worldly irrelevance, but a constant embrace with life and all its joys, loves, anger, sadness, challenge and disappointment.”
Andrew encouraged those present to leave the meeting looking forward with hope.
“Plan, think and pray our way forward,” he said. “We’re also called to live as people overflowing with hope.
“Living in hope doesn’t do away with planning, strategy, hard work and commitment, but it does simultaneously look for the new dawn as it arises.”
He ended with a YouTube clip from Spiritu: Shelter Me, a prayer-song in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Susy Thomas closed the meeting, inviting Synod members to continue working for God as they head back to their communities.
“Yesterday when I welcomed you, I said we wanted to dream dreams, share stories,” she said. “And I want to thank you that we did all that. And now it is in God’s hands.
“We haven’t finished yet. We have hope. My prayer is that we continue with that song.
“May God keep his arms around us and keep us in protection. Go in peace.”