Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.
By Rev. Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg
I don’t know about you, but for me, 2016 left a lot to be desired on a variety of fronts. Work, a.k.a., pastoring, was great. But many of my teenage musical influences and people I thought were too young to die were called home to glory. I’m still dealing with the aftermath of the most surreal election of my lifetime. I don’t think I’m strong enough to even write about it yet.
Now, here it is, 2017, and several of my friends see little reason for
Where is hope to come from? Is it “Morning in America?” as Maya Angelou read at Clinton’s inauguration? Are “Happy Days” here again, as Reagan assured us? Is there a reason to say, “Yes, we can” as Obama cheered?
What’s left is “Drain the swamp, build the wall,” and scary tweets and hateful words, and some days I just want to eat carbs and stay in bed. “Renew” feels like just a brand of carpet cleaner or maybe some strawberry-scented shampoo.
But what if the turning of the year, and our own renewal, does not depend on our level of optimism about politics or our own abilities to keep resolutions? What if our renewal as children of God depends on the help that comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth? God’s mercies, new every morning, Christ’s call to follow, Christ’s command to forgive (and his offer of forgiveness) ...all these things are gifts from God. It is also God’s gift to get to see the start of a new calendar year.
It’s time to be renewed. (Note the passive; something God does for us). And then it’s time to share God’s renewal with others. Do you need a new beginning? God has one ready for you, and for all of us.
Could it be that the Holy Spirit is still moving and getting ready to move in our churches, in our relationships, in our nation? God’s new life means the status quo ain’t what it used to be, friends.
As Easter people, we would be foolish to discount what God can do. This God of the empty tomb isn’t pessimistic about 2017. After all, this God whispers to all our inertia, our fear, and our crossed arms of doubt and exclusion: “Behold, I am making all things new.”