Let’s change the way we look at resolutionsWhere's the Faith?, Bottom Highlights Monday, January 9th, 2012
Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?
Happy New Year! How many of you have made your New Year’s resolutions? How are you doing so far?
Statistics tell us that barely one in three of us continue to make the traditional New Year’s resolutions. I wonder why?
Almost without exception, all the usual resolutions are so grandiose; so austere; so … instantly depressing.
Midnight strikes and we vow to lose twenty pounds; midnight strikes and we vow to get up an hour earlier to exercise; midnight strikes and we vow to master another new skill.
How about if we changed the way we look at resolutions?
What if we looked at the New Year as a sea of possibilities, rather than an ocean of responsibilities?
What if we resolved to relax more?
What if we resolved to sleep more?
What if we resolved to play more?
In the book of Jeremiah, known as the Book of Consolation, Jeremiah looks forward to a new day. He proclaims a glorious vision. Instead of one of his usual doom and gloom/look-how-bad-you’ve-been reports, Jeremiah offers a sneak peak into a future that’s filled with promise and hope; the new restoration of Israel; the redemption of the people; a return to the Promised Land.
The Divine Promise is a life of abundance in all things. An abundant life is God’s resolution for all God’s children. In this new beginning proclaimed by Jeremiah, it’s God who makes the resolutions:
“God resolves to fill the people’s bellies with grain, wine, oil and meat.”
“God resolves to make their lives so lush they will be like a watered garden.”
“God resolves that their feet will dance, their voices will sing and their hearts will be merry.”
“God’s resolve for all people is that they will be satisfied by divine bounty.”
A New Year offers us a unique vantage point – a place where we can stand on the threshold of time and look back on the old year and forward into the new “yet-to-be” year that awaits us – at the same time. The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, who faced both directions at the same time. The head of Janus had a face on the front and a face on the back, so he could face both forwards and backwards simultaneously. January, then, is the time when all of us face both our past and our future. What an opportunity!
This is why at the stroke of midnight we sing the traditional Auld Lang Syne; the song which everyone knows the first five words to (“Should old acquaintance be forgot …”) and nothing more.
Two spirits cohabit on New Year’s – nostalgia and hope.
What if you were to celebrate the New Year by letting God make the resolutions, both about your past and your future?
With regard to your past: God resolves to forgive you, to love you, to accept you, to embrace you and to help you let the past be the past and be able to move on.
With regard to your future: God resolves to give you direction, strength, hope, wisdom, peace and excitement to move forward with faith and foresight.
God resolves, in the words of Jeremiah, to fill your bellies with good food, to shower your life with good friends and good feelings until it becomes like a watered garden; until your feet will dance, your voices will sing and your hearts will be merry.
In these first days of 2012, a brand new year, with unlimited possibilities and great potential, we can go merrily into the New Year – with hope – because we know that God’s resolution is to go behind us and go before us.
Rev. Dan Koeshall is the Senior Pastor at The Metropolitan Community Church (The Met) in San Diego, California, themetchurch.org.
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