…Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise… (Jer.)
… I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow… (Jer.)
…He grants peace within your borders; he fills you with the finest of wheat… (Ps.)
… blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,… destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, …
… From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace… (Jn.)
Happy New Year. I am praying for you all to have a very blessed 2011! A whole year ahead. Who is familiar with the expression or idea of the clean slate, the blank page? ( I assume you all, but then you know what they say about assuming?!) There is another perspective I learned a few years ago, one that goes like this – another opportunity to write a new ending to the story.
Part of the reason I like that so much, is because it comes from a place of deep faith and trust in God, or at least that’s my perspective. A new year – not time to forget the past, forget about the good times and the bad times and try and create new times, but a chance to write a new ending to the story that has included good times and bad times.
The reading from Jeremiah today – Israel, once a great and strong kingdom, split in two – Israel in the North and Judah in the South. Conquered, taken over, exiled, lost…. and yet, rather than ignoring all that and starting again, God writes a new end to that story, and Jeremiah describes it – a homecoming, a celebration, and thanksgiving. The words of the Psalm, praising God for continually writing the story, not stopping, but continuing, and maintaining and being faithful. Paul in his letter to the Church in Ephesus is writing about how God, yet again, wrote a whole new ending to the story with Christ – a different ending that no one was expecting, but one that was beyond our wildest expectations. And John in the Gospel, talking about the Word, how the Word was around before the beginning, how the Word has been writing and written since the beginning, and how it continues to write, and on into the future, continually writing a new ending to the story. God is continually writing a new ending to the story of our lives, and history…. that is why God does not give up on us humans, and never has. This year, I am going to try and live into that reality more, and let that that knowledge that we continue to receive grace upon grace, fill me with that much more praise so that my words and actions are showing that more and more. I will keep trying to do this. That is how I will try and write a new ending to the story. That is my New Year’s resolution.