Pastor's Corner: God gives all a fresh start in Christ
January 3, 2020
As we head into a new year and a new decade, I am sure many of us are feeling pressure to set resolutions for ourselves. But here is the thing — “there is no resolution that, if kept, will make you more worthy of love. You, as your actual self and not as some made up ideal, are already worthy” (Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber).
This new year doesn’t have to have even more pressure and anxiety than normal because it is a new decade. You are not required to justify your existence on earth through constant improvements or earn your right to be here by putting yourself to higher and higher standards. You just get to be here. You belong here. You are loved on earth.
Behind the celebrations, resolutions, and good wishes associated with the New Year, I suspect there are, for many people, hope and a deep longing for a different life and a different world. Ultimately our hope, however, is not in changed circumstances but in Jesus, whose name means God saves.
In Christ, He has given us a fresh start! 2 Corinthians 5: 17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Even better, we don’t have to wait until the new year for a fresh start because his new mercies are new every morning! The Book of Lamentations says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (3: 22-23). If we have a bad day, or a bad week, or even a bad year, we can trust that God’s mercy and love is everlasting.
A few years ago, a good friend told me that every year on her birthday, she sets an intention for herself, a word that will help guide her and challenge her throughout the year. One year was the year of Yes, where she said yes to everything she could – it was a very busy year! For me, it was the year of being fearless; this year is the year of “do the hard thing”. Whatever it is for you, set an intention for your year, a word that will speak to you and for you long after resolutions have faded away.
If you want 2020 to be your year; don’t sit on the couch and wait for it. Go out. Make a change. Smile more. Be excited. Do new things. Throw away what you’ve been cluttering or holding on to. Unfollow and let go of negative people in your life. Go to bed early and wake up early. Be fierce. Don’t gossip. Show more gratitude. Do things that challenge you. Be brave.
Friends, remember: you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Let your light shine this year and sprinkle your salt generously.
The Rev. Maggie Lewis
First Presbyterian Church, Havre
Chinook Presbyterian Church