Where there is no vision . . .

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. [Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)]

Some have used this verse to emphasize the importance of vision in leadership: without a long-term plan—without a vision—people are doomed to wander aimlessly. I don’t think, however, that this is the essence of this verse. Another translation put it this way: “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” (New International Version). In other words, when prophets fail to articulate the vision that God has for God’s people, the people will forget their purpose, who they are, and why God called them together into a community.

Vision in this verse refers to what a prophet sees in a dream, revelation, or prophetic utterance. Interestingly, the same word is used in another place where the writer bemoans the rarity of the word of the Lord and the scarcity of prophets to speak that word (I Samuel 3:1). A lack of vision, then, is a lack of God’s divine communication.

The Feast of the Epiphany begins a time when Scripture reveals “visions galore”: the dreams of the magi, the utterance of Simeon at the presentation in the temple, doves descending at the Lord’s baptism. And that’s only the beginning. The season goes on to manifest the identity of Jesus as the promised Messiah beginning with the wedding at Cana ends with the glorious vision of Jesus transfigured – a vision entrusted to Peter, James, and John – Jesus’ closest friends on Transfiguration Sunday.

These are all supernatural events. But the kind of vision we need is not miraculous. Rather, its key lies in the second part of the verse: he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Again, the NIV guides us: blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

In this sense, vision becomes the roadmap of what God wants us to do. It is God’s view of our future as those marked out as his own (BCP 308). Vision provides an answer to the question, “What should we do?” When what comes into view is from God, it is more than a dream – it is vision. Yet, if we fail to acquire clear vision then passion and confidence will be lacking and others might not see the value of faith in God. Even members of our own community may drift away – casting off restraint. We fail as a community of faith to bring Christ to all– the message of Epiphany.

Every good planner knows that vision isn’t everything. Every vision must result in a statement mission – and a mission must be reduced to its strategic goals. As we begin to emerge from our long COVID winter, we must recall the vision and the mission goals we established in VISION 20/20 – our Gran Sueno, our big dream. But even that is not enough. Just like the vision God had for ancient Israel, our mission is a living, developing thing. Grounded in unchangeable values, the strategies shift as we adapt to new circumstances.

Through the next year, we will lean into the vision God has given us and explore new ways to fulfill our mission to make it real in our world. Only with such a vision, and a dedicated effort to “heed wisdom’s instruction” will we confidently enter a new chapter in the life of St. Luke’s
Source: Rector’s Blog

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