The beauty about the New Year is letting go of the old and looking forward to the future.
During my last dermatological exam, the doctor determined from her scan of my body that a couple of places on my skin needed to be removed. Questioning her analysis, I asked her about others that bothered me. “Those are barnacles.”, she said. You collect them along the way but they are of no harm to you.
At the end of each year, I try to decide what is needed in my house, car, office, wallet and satchel. The rest I discard. The left over to-do list from 2018 were collected and reduced to one. Some things didn’t get done and life continued. Some things still need my attention. But just reorganizing is a freeing experience.
At church, we are going through this same keeping and discarding process. Most programs we will keep, some will be slightly changed and some will be let go. Do they serve us in doing ministry? This is the question we are asking of each other and ourselves.
Our spiritual life can be much the same. When I refer to spiritual life, I am talking about our relationship with God and each other. What nurtures my faith in God? This may be the question that you ask yourself. For example, I have a new devotion that I will use for the new year. Some people find new ways to serve as a way to spark their enjoyment of serving God. To be sure, some things come our way that we did not plan yet are very important to our life, like caring for aging parents or adjusting to retirement.
In the Old Testament, there was an event every seven years, where all debts were retired and people started over. Deuteronomy 15: 1-3. It was known as the “Year of Jubilee”. I am sure we would all sing if this was still practiced. It is interesting that a society recognized that if debts were not dissolved than the poor would just get further behind and the rich would get richer. Justice was a value highly honored in their lives.
We have a habit of holding on to things like grudges, patterns of our days, our view of people, etc. Some of these are good, tried and true, and tested ideas. Some of them are just bad. Every Sunday at worship the service offers an opportunity to let things go. We call it confession and forgiveness.
This is just a natural time in life when people make change. I encourage you to do so. Hanging on to things just for the purpose of hanging on or fear of letting go restricts us from being fully the people God has made us to be. God’s Grace allows for us to act and move in different directions that best serve God and our neighbor. What would you like to release? What new way of serving and pleasing God would you like to add? I encourage you to think about it and make a change.
In His Service, Pastor Mitchell