We are entering a new year. Celebrations abound. There is something about “new” possibilities, hopes and dreams. Perhaps we hope the new will be better than the old. We may wonder if things can get any worse and we hope, pray or trust things will get better. We say good-bye to the old hoping, praying.
As I began to write this I was thinking about the verses from Lamentations. Here the writer is lamenting the conditions of his world and yet there is hope – God's compassion is renewed in him each morning. Each morning the writer is reminded of the faithfulness of God. Each day begins a new adventure, a new road filled with hope, expectations and possibilities. I was going to make some comments about the arbitrary changing from one year to another, I mean it could just as easily be in June or July as January. I was going to ponder the celebrations and wonder why place so much attention on the new.
I say “was” because as I reflected on this I was reminded of our need for rituals. I was reminded how important it is for us to say “good-bye” to the old and anticipate the new. We need a sense of ending before we can go on to a new beginning.
I recall a pastor who was asked to “bury” the gavel of a women's ministry. The group had dwindled down and there were no younger women joining, times had changed and the few women remaining knew it was time for something new. The “ceremony” of burying the gavel was to bring closure and celebration to a ministry ending—having accomplished good work in the past. It also was a willingness of these women to look forward to the future and new possibilities. It gave them permission to move forward. The gavel was buried in the church's flowerbed in a simple, caring ceremony. New life was beginning.|
Thus, I changed my thoughts. Yes, God's compassion and mercies are new every morning. But we do need rituals (and parties can be rituals) to move us from one place to another. We need to be reminded of where we have been, the good and the bad of those days and to look forward to new days and possibilities.
The one assurance we have is of God's faithfulness. In the midst of laments the writer could proclaim, “Great is your faithfulness.” May we enter 2010 with such a feeling of hope – Great is our God's faithfulness!
January Scripture and Sermons
Jeremiah 31:7-14; John 1:10-18
Isaiah 43:1-7; Luke 3:15-22
“A Strange Request”
Isaiah 62:1-5; John 2:1-11
Psalm 19; Luke 4:14-22
Psalm 71:1-6; I Cor. 13
“Our Way: Love”
A special Thank You to all who participated in our Advent/Christmas project – blankets for Church World Service. Our goal was 100 blankets (at $5.00 each)—we gave 114 blankets!
Another Fifth Sunday – January 31 – Another Game night at the Plourde's. We hope you will join us for this time of fellowship and fun!
Our Evergreen Association is planning a possible mission trip to Haiti – watch for more information – pray about joining a group from our area – early fall of 2010 is projected!