Dear Friends -
I must admit - the greeting “Happy New Year” always rings a little hollow for me – because I am so aware, even in my small circle of friends, of so many incredibly challenging situations that people are dealing with: my oldest brother who gets an update tomorrow on how his treatment is affecting his cancer; a 40 year old friend who is on IV drip three times a day with a high-powered antibiotic to beat a super-resistant infection; our dear friends living downstairs in the Compass at First Presbyterian shelter hoping to get into housing, but also trying to get their lives together on many other fronts. And who can forget the violence and famine in Yemen that fills our screens with images of little bodies with distended bellies and skeletal limbs; or the threat to the first fair and democratic election in the Democratic Republic Congo since it gained independence in 1960; much less the political division and impasse in our own nation that has everybody yelling at each other – or not speaking to one another at all.
The list goes on, and it is all rather unsettling, and daunting. Happy New Year doesn’t quite cut it.
I know I’ve said this before, but this is why Sunday is so important for me, why I live for worship, for church, for being the beloved community together, for kinship: We are reminded that God is with us and for us. I am not alone; we are not alone. And the God who loves us calls us to love one another. I know we’re not perfect; we’re all a mess. (If you think you have no mess, um, that’s your mess!) But when we come together, we are reminded of God’s grace – we receive God’s forgiveness. And we see ourselves in a larger Story, God’s Story, of making all things new. The Story of God’s unfolding promise to mend the entire universe!
Happy New Year? I’m holding out for New Creation – through the life, death and the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Now that has the ring of truth to it! And we need to hear it, and sing it, and say it, and pray it again and again and again! Which is what we get to do every Sunday!
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The text this Sunday is Matthew 2:12 – the familiar story of the Magi. Read it through a couple times – listen with your heart – notice what touches you, what do you love?
O come let us adore Him!