Greetings in 2017
Delivered By
From Pastor David
Delivered On
January 4, 2017
Greetings and Happy New Year to all of you in the spirit of Christ!

     As I sat down to write a couple checks I had to remind myself, just like I’ve had to do every January, that the year has changed and I now need to write 2017.  How quickly it seems the years change! It usually takes a little time to get used to writing the new date and add the correct year. 

     Our common understanding of the name for this first month of the year, January, is that it comes from the name of an ancient Roman god, Janus, the god of beginnings and endings.  Janus is usually portrayed as having two faces, one looking forward to the future and the other looking back toward the past. 

     As we begin this New Year, it is a good time to take a look back, reflecting on, perhaps grieving, perhaps celebrating, what has been.  It is a great opportunity to thank God for another year of life, for our experiences and for those with whom we have shared this life.  We give thanks for God’s grace that has seen us through many situations. It’s also a great time to look forward with anticipation to welcome those new experiences, challenges and opportunities that God offers with the dawn of each new day.  With every New Year there is great expectation!  We know without doubt that not everything in this New Year will be exactly what we hope for, and there will be tests and trials.  But a new year also gives opportunity to reaffirm our trust that God’s gracious love will surround and hold us.  His forgiveness will allow us second, third and twentieth chances.  His awesome power will give us the strength to be the person He’s called us to be.  Because of Christ’s coming, we have been given all God has to offer, so we don’t have to trudge through life aimlessly.  With each moment this New Year offers, we have a choice.  By faith we can follow His plan with eternal purpose, or we can trust our personal experience and reasoning and wonder whether the next moment will be helpful or harmful.  If we like high anxiety, living the second choice might be for us.  My prayer is that we will truly turn from ourselves and trust our Father’s promises that have never failed. 

     Following his death in a plane crash, a journal that had been kept by the Secretary General of the U.N., Dag Hammarskjold, was found.  It was published in 1963 under the title, “Markings.”  It is his reflections on his attempts to make a connection between his faith, spiritual life and his social responsibilities.  One of the statements from his book is a simple one that is appropriate for the turning of the year: “For all that has been… thanks. For all that shall be… yes.”

     That’s faith looking back and looking forward.  That’s deep gratitude for all that has been and deep trust and joy for what is yet to be.  How different would our lives be if we considered life from this perspective?

     It’s good for us as people and good for the church to be able to say as the calendar flips: “Thank you, God, for all you have given. Now, what do you have for us next?”

     Friends, I pray that 2017 will be a true blessing for all.  This New Year let’s commit ourselves to follow God’s plan, trusting His faithfulness.  Through our witness let’s invite others to experience “all that shall be” as we embody God’s mission and ministry in all we are and do at Grace United Methodist Church.             

Blessings and peace,

Pastor David