By Pastor Janet Dec 27, 2004
The New Year â€¦ a line in the sands of time drawn with invitation to take stock, to renew, to anticipate, to reflect. As Godâ€™s people, we do this corporately, together. We are invited to pause our lives and to come together to look forward â€” together, as a community of faith. So we each week we gather around the Word and holding on to one another, we dare to look into the mirror that Godâ€™s word holds up for us…
How are we doing trusting in God? How are we doing quieting the voices of fear and strengthening our muscles of faith? How are we doing being the hands and hearts and voice of God â€” peacemakers in a violent world? Will there be fewer hungry children in the world at the end of this year, because of our stewardship and discipleship? How can we get there from here? How are we growing together? Bible study? Small group? Prayer? Service?
Each week, the Word of God draws us into the global story of Emmanuel, God with us. In the first week of the New Year (January 2nd) we reflect on the mystery of the Epiphany, in the second week (January 9th) the powerful story of Jesusâ€™ baptism and his movement toward public ministry. And we name and celebrate all those who were baptized in 2004 and the work of the Spirit in their lives. Also that week, we meet to make a decision about extending a Call to a new Youth Minister to serve God here at Holy Trinity.
In the 3rd week of the month we invest in the financial planning for the upcoming year of life and ministry together, with budget forums and preparation for our 4th Sunday, and our annual Congregational Meeting. The rhythms of the church year ebb and flow, but just beneath the surface of these seemingly mundane plans, pulses the Spirit of God, drawing us in and readying us for the challenges of faithful living that are just around the corner. And so the new year begins … full of promise, full of hope, full of opportunity to live closer to the adoption of the Word and one another.
Perhaps God is calling you to a new thing in this New Year. Is it tutoring a child across the street? Sponsoring an orphan in Africa with the means to attend school? Is it dedicating time for prayer or exercise or quiet? Perhaps its one call a week to a shut-in member or sharing yourself for one hour on a Sunday morning in a Village Sunday School classroom.
Maybe God is nudging you to invite a neighbor to join you at church, or prodding you to take seriously the rich hopeful signs of Godâ€™s reign that surround you. The deepest needs of our spirits are met in the things that happen within and beneath and around the schedule, drenched in the Word and prayer.
My prayer for each of us as we turn the pages of our calendars, is that we will listen for the Spiritâ€™s invitation â€” take time to reflect and assess our connections to one another â€” and hold fast to our focus on the Word made flesh that is dwelling among us, full of grace and wonder.
Godâ€™s peace to you in this New Year…