At the November 19 Presbytery Meeting at Schoharie United Presbyterian Church, Kate Kotfila and I were given a matching task—not the same task but matching in the way that two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fit together as a part of a greater whole. Our two pieces were that she was asked to look back on her moderatorial year with thanks, and I was asked to look forward into the year of service ahead of me as Albany Presbytery’s new moderator, also with thanks. In many ways it’s much easier to give thanks for future. You can be a little less specific, for one! I don’t know what the future will hold for me, or for us as the Albany Presbytery, but I know that I can still be thankful for that unknown future, because God will meet us there. Actually, God will travel with us from here to there and that is even more a cause for joy.

Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). We’ll have the “light of life” because we will be walking with Jesus, the light of the world. God will never leave us; God will never forsake us (see Heb. 14:5 and Deut. 31:6). I translate that in my own mind as God saying to me (and you) “I will never abandon you; I will never turn against you.” Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the very end of the age” (Mt 28:20). So I know that when I believe in Jesus, when I trust Jesus enough to step out and follow him wherever he goes in this world, that I will be walking in his light. That’s something to be thankful for.

I don’t know where our presbytery will be a year from now, but I trust God that we will be walking side-by-side with Jesus, doing his work in the world. That won’t always be comfortable, I’m sure, but it’s something that we all can be thankful about. Maybe his light will shine on our discipleship as we learn to walk closer with Jesus. Maybe he’ll be showing us the people who have walked alone and in darkness, and now, through our service by Christ’s grace, God’s light shines on them. Maybe we will get so excited about Christ’s ministry through us that our volunteer presbytery will blossom and shine in new and wonderful ways. Maybe as we learn to love each other even more (we’ve all seen glimmers of that love). the world will see and know that we are Christ’s disciples.

Maybe! We don’t know what the future will hold for us, except that God holds the future and us. That’s certainly something to be thankful for! Thanks be to God!

About Rev. Michael Burkley

Michael has been a pastor for over 30 years (unbelievably to him) and for over 11 of those years he has had the privilege of serving in Albany Presbytery as the pastor of the Rockwell Falls Presbyterian Church. He is currently serving as the 2020 Moderator of Albany Presbytery and is very glad to be serving God here with us.

The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond. While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.