January is here and so is the New Year. As we put away our Christmas decorations and say goodbye to 2014 we also have to welcome the New Year! It is a beginning again and although it may have some familiarity about it, things that were old are being made new once again in our Lord Jesus Christ. Is it not time for you to be new again? To be raised up from sin and death to new life everlasting. You see each and every day of the New Year is an opportunity to hope and renew ourselves in Christ Jesus. It is a time to thank God for the blessings He has given to us. There is a practice that seems to be fairly popular on Facebook. It is a seven day practice to name something each day of what you are thankful for. While this is a great beginning, we need to practice this 365 days of the year. Each day no matter what it brings is an opportunity to grow, learn, help, and enrich our lives. Even when the day doesn’t start out the best, can we see the goodness of the Lord?
The New Year is also a time of hope. Not a hope that is naïve that wishes all things were better but a hope that has its deep roots in our Lord. Hope that we can be changed into his likeness. Hope that we may grow deeper in love and service to Him. Hope that we can know that the kingdom of God is near. Hope that we can share the Good News with those we love, those we know, those who we do not know. In the New Year, God is calling all of use to use the gifts he has given us to great good to his glory. We are asked to be his servants not his volunteers. Do you remember the difference between a volunteer and a servant? A volunteer does what he/she wants when he/she wants. The decision is ours how much we are involved or not. A servant is open to serving all the time—when God calls, what he calls you to do and when He calls you to do it. It is not on our time schedule or how convenient it is for us. It is being open to the Spirit that blows where it wills.
What we are talking about is a transformation of our lives in Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is seven days a week and 24 hours a day. It is not just coming to church on Sunday but an active part of Christ’s Body each day of the week. Do we realize that as we are interacting with others each day, God is calling us to show forth his Kingdom. It may be in an act of kindness. It may be in the words we say. It may being inconvenienced and our attitude towards the interruption. It may even be speaking up against an untruth or injustice we see. But we are each called to have our goal to be Christ-like.
As we begin this New Year we can expect challenges in our lives. As we look to the future, we can expect that we will have successes and failures. But what we must remember is that God is opening up opportunities and challenges to allow us to grow more mature and faithfully in Him.
On Sunday, January 25th we will have one Eucharist in the morning at 9 am. There will be a 5:30 pm Eucharist also that day. Following the 9 am Eucharist we will have our Annual Parish Meeting in the Parish Hall. There are many important items to report on and I hope all our members will join us for this meeting. Activities will be available for the youth while we are in our meeting. Please plan to join us.
May God bless and keep you in this New Year no matter what it may bring. May hope and faithfulness abound and may we grow in the love of our Lord.
Faithfully in Christ,