Happy New Year!!
I am a glass half-full kind of person most of the time yet, on first glance, I am having trouble looking back at 2017 and seeing the glass with anything much in it at all. We faced devastating hurricanes, tragic mass shootings, horrific fires, political unrest, allegations of sexual harassment, and threats of war. While all that is true, if I think a little harder, I also remember the beautiful birth of my 6th granddaughter, a family get-together with everyone at Thanksgiving, very special times with friends, getting to work with a new group of “pilgrims” in EYSJ, and presiding at my first Baptism. I imagine that 2018 will also be a mixed bag of blessings and challenges. That’s just the way life is.
One thing I know for sure is that 2018 will bring many opportunities for us to actively live our faith “putting Christ back in Christian,” as Bishop Gibbs wrote in his Christmas Message. The 21st of each month will bring another chance to #PrayFastAct with other Christians. Provincial Synod and General Convention will bring new resolutions and important information that we might continue to live as the Beloved Community – a Church relevant for the 21st Century. There will opportunities to express ourselves through peaceful marches, petitions and phone calls. We will have a chance to vote for candidates that stand for the needs of all the people rather than those that represent only the wealthy and corporate interests. In the weeks ahead, the blog will share more ways for us to get involved to demonstrate our love of God and love of all our neighbors. For now, I want to share a post I read on Facebook that expresses my desire for us all in 2018. I’ve adapted this from John McDonald of Haverhill, UK:
At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel by our side. As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant, i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. Others will step down over time and leave a permanent vacuum. Some, however, will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves to ensure that their travels are the best they can be.
The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind a better, safer ride for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.
I wish you all a joyful journey.
So what are your New Year’s Resolutions? Mine include trying to make a difference in 2018 by being present, speaking out against injustice, calling my legislators more faithfully, giving support to those that live the Gospel with honesty and integrity and serving God’s people whenever and wherever I can. By God’s grace, we are all called to protect and care for the other travelers we meet on this journey so I’m hopeful that my resolutions will have a longer life this year than they have in the past. As members of the Jesus Movement together, let us commit to making a difference in 2018. A blessed New Year to you all!
Let us pray –
In your wisdom, O Lord our God, you have made all things and have allotted to each of us the days of our life. Grant that we may live in your presence, be guided by your Holy Spirit and offer all our works to your honor and glory. This we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
~ The Rev. Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council