Happy New Year!
In the church’s calendar, today is the 1st Sunday in Advent and the first Sunday of the new worship year. It’s the season of preparation for the coming of Christ. We are invited to see our story in the larger story of the gospel and to enter into the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship and reflection on scripture that can create new possibilities for our lives and our world.
As I often do, I found myself humming a song this morning. It’s not a typical Advent-Christmas hymn, but it expresses the hope many of us may feel as we continue to “find our bearings” after the converging crises of our recent past.
The first time I heard it was when we were leaving the security, vitality and laughter of our years at St. Luke’s UMC in Orlando, to step into a unknowable and unpredictably challenging ministry at Hyde Park UMC in Tampa. Anne Smith, a professional singer at Disney World who was a kid in my youth group at our first appointment in DeLand, sang it at our “going away” celebration.
I offer it to you today as a word of hope for the new year!
This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that’s gone.
For by the life and death of Jesus,
love’s mighty Spirit, now as then,
can make for us a world of difference,
as faith and hope are born again.
Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring,
step from the past and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt, and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.
Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.
-Brian Wren, (United Methodist Hymnal, p. 383)
May this Advent season be a time of new beginnings in each of our lives and in our confused and conflicted world.
Grace and peace,