Both in that moment and throughout the days that followed, as I reflected on this idea of our resolutions being positive in intent—at the risk of tumbling down a theologically speculative rabbit hole—I began to wonder if God has resolutions and what they might look like. Though my mind moved in a somewhat different direction than what the pastor had intended for us, I ran with it. For me, (perhaps deviating a bit from the standard definition) a resolution is a hope one works toward fully accomplishing. I pondered on God’s resolutions—hopes that God works toward accomplishing. God’s resolutions, obviously, would look significantly different than our annual attempts at increased optimism, weight loss, or bucket list entries crossed-off. In faith, I trust that God has resolutions—some visible in history, and others hidden beyond reason—whether they are: to create a beautiful and bountiful world in less than a week, to practice forgiveness toward God’s beloved people despite all they do to/against God, to make Godself more accessible to a humanity that cries for help, or something else beyond my imagination. Respecting that we can never fully comprehend God and God’s mind (or hopes), I nevertheless remain hopeful that God’s resolutions are only positive. To parallel the pastor’s logic from earlier (for better or for worse), it seems counter to God’s goodness and grace for God to have and/or seek negative resolutions. The God who I hear speak in and through Scripture, who I pray to, who I point to in my preaching and teaching, who I see actively at work in the world, and who I trust in is a God who I believe only wants good things for all of creation. This does not mean that I think God is a deity of prosperity, such as some feel-good preachers might suggest. In love, God wants good for that which God has created, just as a parent wants good for their child (keeping in mind the apparent limitations of such a metaphor). God has hopes for us—hopes our sin and brokenness hinder and hurt, but never fully thwart. Though we have the freedom, power, and potential to work against God’s hopes for us, nothing we do or don’t do keeps God from resolving to do amazing things—miracles, if you will—in and among us. In spite of the pain and suffering we inflict on others and experience ourselves, God seeks for us to have life and love, healing and wholeness, and trust and faithfulness.
At the risk of sounding hokey (or philosophically daunting), Christ is, for us, God’s enfleshed resolution of grace fulfilled. In Jesus, the Son Incarnate, God resolves: God hopes to save the whole world from sin and death, and ultimately works to fully accomplish this efficacious act by coming into the world as one of us, living among God’s people, and being crucified on a cross, dies, is buried, and after three days raised from the dead to rule over all things in heaven and on earth. This resolution is fulfilled in that God accomplishes God’s hope—not only being raised from the dead, but in and through Christ’s death and resurrection God gives us new life, free from the bonds of sin and death. God’s resolution of justifying us and redeeming the whole world is not something we, ourselves, accomplish in any way; but, is a free unearned gift from God. In faith, we receive the gift (grace) of God’s resolution accomplished in the Crucified and Risen Christ. You and I are made new by God’s resolution so that we might live in love and service to others. Unlike many of our annual resolutions, which either go unaccomplished or selfishly only affect ourselves; God’s resolution for us has been fulfilled in the Crucified and Risen One and daily works new life in us, with implications to love and serve the whole world.
**I pray this tangent has not been too difficult to follow and serves to help shape how you understand God’s hope and work for us and for all people in Christ, the Crucified and Risen One.