I still remember my amazement when I got my first pair of glasses in fourth grade. As we drove home from the optometrist’s office, I was surprised that I could read the billboards well before we were right in front of them and that the world looked so crisp and clear. I was thrilled! So, I appreciate the play on words in a meme I recently saw on Facebook: “People who wear glasses must be excited for the new year. It’s the first time they’ll see 20/20.”
This year—2020—we are planning to publish a series of articles in print and online that we hope will inspire us U.S. Mennonite Brethren to pursue 20/20 vision. Our thanks to the C.S. Lewis Institute’s Annual Spiritual Checkup resource for suggesting Matthew 22:37-40 as a framework for this spiritual check-up. Here Jesus says, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In each issue this year we plan to include at least one feature article that explores how we can better love God, our neighbors and ourselves—or what we call self-care. We invite readers to share stories and theological reflections as we think together about what it means to be healthy disciples and healthy churches who are guided in their choices by the Great Commandment. Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in making a contribution.
In this issue you will find three essays, marked with the Vision 2020 logo, that introduce this year-long focus by challenging us to think more carefully about what it means to love God. Thank you to Pastor Eric Nelson and Professor Tim Geddert for their thoughtful contributions in print and to Pastor Lynn Kauffman for his online essay. News stories in the BodyLife department offer three examples of how the fine arts can help us express our love for God and neighbors.
This issue also highlights two congregations that are enjoying a new beginning—Lighthouse Church in Denver and Gospel Fellowship Church in Wolf Point, Montana This summer, when USMB holds its biennial convention, Gary Hoag will be one of the guest speakers. Hoag and MB Foundation president and CEO Jon Wiebe have teamed up for the third feature article on evaluating stewardship curriculum.
It is helpful for all of us to get our vision checked regularly. We hope you will experience a refocused and clarified vision for following Jesus this new year.
Connie Faber joined the magazine staff in 1994 and assumed the duties of editor in 2004. She has won awards from the Evangelical Press Association for her writing and editing. Faber is the co-author of Family Matters: Discovering the Mennonite Brethren. She and her husband, David, have two daughters, one son, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and one grandson. They are members of Ebenfeld MB Church in Hillsboro, Kansas.