To tell the truth, I am not one who is big on New Years.
Either the celebration or making resolutions.
Maybe because New Year’s always seems to come so quickly after Christmas and most years (including this one!) I am still trying to have my energy catch up with the calendar.
But here we are in the opening days of 2017.
A day which we have now, but never again.
Maybe it is a day for us to recognize the new year and to consider resolutions for the year ahead. Resolutions not about diet or exercise or spending more time with family and friends, but given the reality of the times in which we live, resolutions about what it means to be a Christian. A person of faith. A person called by God to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world; to treat others the way you would like to be treated; to be called blessed because you are known to be a peacemaker or because you hunger and thirst for righteousness or because you are merciful.
A blog to which I subscribe had this title on yesterday’s post:
Extraordinary Times Call for Extraordinary Churches.
These are churches willing to look outward more than they look inward and to see others as neighbors and who are willing to ask what they can do to heal a world too often broken by hatred and fear and prejudice and violence. Maybe we could or should replace the word church with the word Christian or the words People of Faith.
Whatever word or words we chose, they include you and me.
So, what about this as a place we might start.
We use this Affirmation of Faith each time we celebrate a baptism.
We are not alone. We live in God’s world. We believe in God who has created and who is creating; who is made known to us in the life and ministry of Jesus; and who works in us and in others through the Spirit. We place our trust in God. God calls us to be the Church; to celebrate God’s presence; to love and serve others; to seek justice and to resist evil. In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. Thanks be to God.
Here is what I am going to ask you to do.
Below is a series of questions.
Read through them.
Pick two or three (or more if you would like) which tug at you in some way. And then write down what what you hope to do to deepen that part of your life of faith.
Here are several guidelines.
Be specific. Maybe something like I am going to read one book related to my faith or values.
Be realistic. You are not going to read the entire Bible each month.
Risk something new. None of us is who or where God calls us to be.
When you are finished, put what you wrote some place where you will see it.
Read through what you wrote at least once a week.
Jot down notes about what you are experiencing and learning and where and how God is tugging at your life.
Here are the questions:
- What would you like to do in order to better see and experience and name those places where God is still creating? In your life? In the world around us?
- What would you like to do in order to better understand the life and ministry of Jesus and what his example means for your life and how you live?
- How might you deepen your trust in God or better understand what that means for your life?
- How might you better notice and name and celebrate God’s presence in your life and our world?
- How might you better love and serve others?
- How might you seek justice and resist evil?
Paul Alcorn is the Pastor of Bedford Presbyterian Church in Bedford Village, NY.