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Some New Year’s Resolutions

More blogs »Posted on Jan 3 2013

I had been looking forward to the Christmas-New Year schedule, and suddenly it’s January the Third, and past time for some traditional New Years resolutions! Where did the time go?

Such resolutions are often desires to make changes in our lives that we’ve been meaning to do for some time. I do resolve to spend a little time in my mornings this coming year doing exercises to trim my waist and improve my health. This leads to other resolutions, like getting to bed earlier more regularly, so that I’m in a condition to DO exercises in the morning without drinking a gallon of coffee to wake up…

For Anglicans, I recommend making a regular practice of doing the Daily Office, at least the Morning Prayer. If, like me, you’ve gotten accustomed to sipping coffee first thing in the morning and cycling through the news on your computer, start your day at http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html , which has a button labelled “Click for Today’s Prayer Service”. Click that, and sip your coffee while you read through a Morning Prayer service that includes the scripture readings already presented for you. It even includes a lesson on an early Church Father, or some other Christian of note. I used to get something like that from the Catholic Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, which along with the daily scripture readings provides a reading from a Church Father or someone else of note, but now I use a book entitled ‘Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church’, by Robert Wright. It has a book mark, and I keep it set for where we are in the liturgical calendar, usually something like “Week of 3 Advent, Tuesday”. The Early Church is wonderful in it’s perspective on our spirituality and our need for God. By being mindful of our sins, they really appreciated our need for Christ’s atonement, and so were very grateful to God for His grace. In today’s consumer-driven culture rife with a prosperity Gospel that often sees Jesus as our buddy, the Early Church’s perspective is refreshing.

I resolve to be more regular blogging here! Late last year a few things came up that sapped my creativity, but these things just have to be dealt with and resolved. For me, blogging like this is a creative thing, and it’s harder to be creative when I’m “not quite up for it”. Well, time to dust off this blog.

As for our church, I feel very blessed to have been called to be the pastor. My wife and I remark often what a great group of people this is, and we still marvel at the fact that we wake up each morning on Cape Cod. In many was with this church I don’t want to mess with success. But I do resolve this year to be more effective at outreach and evangelism on ‘the Cape’. It’s not easy here to be very open here, people tend to hold strong feelings about such things, are private about their faith if they have one, and if they don’t they tend to be very resistant to being approached on the subject of their faith. I think part of that is that ‘The World’ has been good at equating love with complete acceptance, meaning that if you don’t approve of everything about a person’s lifestyle, you are guilty of hating them. Or, if you love them, you will accept and love everything about them. It used to be that parents saw right through this kind of thing, they unconditionally loved their children, but didn’t let them get away with lying, stealing, cheating, striking their brother or sister… Clearly the Bible works along these lines, Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery (John 8) “Woman, where are those that condemn you?” “Lord, they are not here…” “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” As Christians we love, and we love enough to encourage people to do the right thing, and to avoid the wrong things. ‘The World’ seems to think that calling any thing a wrong thing is a bad thing, unless that bad thing is a conservative thing, and then they seem to be bad things by default. Christians, though, can point out a better thing, a higher way. We can talk about forgiveness and redemption. We can speak the truth in love. And so I resolve to explore and practice ways to reach out with the Good News of the Bible while being wise and honest about the parts people don’t want to hear. The parts where what the Bible recommends in our lifestyles runs contrary to what we may be doing. Because I think these things cause an awful lot of heartache that the Bible would help us avoid.

Finally, I resolve to do what I can to continue this church’s great record in terms of it’s giving, monetarily and in-kind, to charitable concerns. Things like helping serve food at the Noah Shelter, delivering money and foodstuffs to the Lower Cape Outreach Council, working with the Brewster Council on Aging, and more. I worry about this coming year. Our nation is running up debt at over a TRILLION dollars a year with a real unemployment rate (meaning, when you add in people who have given up looking for a job, and the people who are under-employed, called the ‘U-5’ or ‘U-6’) at least 14% or greater. There is need for charity, in the different meanings of the word. It is good for the recipient, and it’s good for the person giving.

May God bless you this coming year!

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