Grace and peace to you, People of God! Happy New Year!
As we enter a new year, many people will write New Year’s resolutions, attempting to live in a new way. Some people may succeed, but plenty of us forget our intentions after a few weeks. The YMCA to which we belonged back in WI would have a “Recharge Your Resolution” event in February, knowing that all those gym goers the first week of January needed a little extra help to make the habit continue.
The first Sunday of January is a festival called, “Baptism of our Lord.” It focuses on Jesus’ baptism and the beginning of his ministry, but it also reminds us of our baptisms. The New Year gives the impression of a fresh start, but our baptism really is a new beginning. In baptism, all the mess of our lives gets washed away and we are declared as good and holy as Jesus. We’re forgiven and promised God’s love for us will never end.
We only get baptized once, but we remember our baptisms daily. We get a fresh start with God all the time, not just once a year. We don’t need to carry around the guilt of broken intentions. We can be sure that God forgives us. God gives us a new life, and the strength to take steps to live that new life together. We are blessed with a community of faith. We are each other’s encouragers and accountability partners, meant to help each other live into the image of God we were created to be.
This year, start with God’s promise-“I love you, you are mine,” rather than all the things you want to change in your life. Set an intention to live in response to God’s love. What does it look like for you to live out Our Savior’s mission, “Serving God, God’s People, and Our Community?” Share that goal with another person. Then encourage each other. Remember that we’re centered in God’s grace. Sometimes we live up to our intentions, and at other times, we simply fail. That’s ok. God love us through and through. We try because we love God and we want to grow in love for God and all God has created.