The perfect season for the Indianapolis Colts football team ended yesterday when the coach decided to rest his key players rather than to go for a victory and to keep the undefeated season alive. My opinion about that coaching decision probably doesn’t matter, but I will quote my mother who said, "I was so mad at the Colts for giving that game away." (I agree with Mom, by the way.)
The whole episode reminds us that perfection is hard to achieve. John Wesley, who started the Methodist Revival in England which came to America and became the Methodist Church, taught about Christian Perfection. Such perfection, Wesley said, is not about living without error. Rather it is a growth in holiness which involves growing in God’s grace until we become the persons God intends us to be. Wesley claimed only to have known one or two persons who seemed to be nearing such Christian Perfection, and so he did not take lightly the difficulty of growing toward perfection. But Wesley, and the Holiness movement, and our United Methodist Church affirm that we are all called to be "going on" to such perfection. Even as we are "going on to perfection" we know that perfection is not easy and it is not really about us – it is about opening our lives to God’s transformation.
As we move into 2010 as the new Indiana Conference, I believe it is important that we claim this concept of Christian Perfection. In fact, I have found myself saying that whereas 2009 was, as expected, a “messy year” of transition, I believe that 2010 should be our "go-to year" – as we start going toward achieving the designs for the Indiana Conference. 2009 was certainly a messy year, and in some ways it was a "“go-to year" in which we move beyond messiness and at least move toward perfecting our plans and designs.
Perhaps 2010 can be a "go-to year" for you, too. Perhaps 2010 can be a time of moving further along into God’s design for your life. While there is nothing magical about the flip of the calendar from one year to the next, there is something transforming and powerful about focusing our lives toward the direction of God’s purposes and holiness.
My prayer is that 2010 can be a "go-to year" for all of us, including the Indiana Conference, as we go toward God.