Hope and renewal

By Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International CEO

During Holy Week, we are reminded once again of the divine mysteries of our God who can make all things new. In the part of the world where I live, we are getting a peek at budding flowers, blooming trees and green grass. The spring season offers tangible reminder of rebirth as the rhythm of life continues.

The Easter messages of hope and renewal also speak powerfully to the ministry of Habitat for Humanity. Our desire is to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ by helping families move from desperation to hope — by helping them leave unthinkable living conditions to build the foundation for a better life. Many volunteers and supporters have also discovered great new joy and purpose in reaching out a helping hand.

Hope is the essence of the Habitat story — and the message of Easter. The God who loves us immeasurably offers hope to everyone. We help that hope come alive when we become Christ’s hands and feet in the world.

Often we are never aware of the ways God uses our efforts or of the seeds that are planted when we seek to help families build a better life.  I often consider the prayer composed by Bishop Ken Untener and often attributed to Bishop Oscar Romero:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

Thank you for all you do to bring hope and renewal to families and communities around the world.  I pray that you will have a blessed and joyous Easter as you experience the power of the risen Christ.