Some resolutions for the new year.
With the arrival of 2020, perhaps you’ve had a few moments to take stock of where you are now and where you’d like to be next year. Perhaps, you’ve been thinking about some resolutions to help get you there? Let me suggest a few for your consideration.
- Daily bible reading. With smartphones, tablets, or even a paper edition, it has become easier and easier to commit to reading Holy Scripture every day. I have a standing appointment on my calendar to read the lessons for the daily office each day at 9:30 AM. Sometimes I get to read them with others, sometimes it’s just me. But I read selections of the Bible each day in such a way that by the end of two years, I’ll have read the Old Testament once, the New Testament twice and the Psalms a number of times.
Daily reading of the Bible has changed who I am. I believe it can change you too. Maybe this is the year for you to start. If you already have started, keep going! Let the Spirit of God reveal God’s truth to us through the reading of inspired writing, and let us be changed more and more into the likeness of Jesus as a result.
- Regular church attendance. The way our lives are evolving, it has become harder and harder to find time to make it to church each Sunday. We clergy types have noticed, and we really do understand. But the solution to being busy or feeling overwhelmed is not to cut out the one thing that will give you a sense of being centered or being at peace. If your preferred service can’t fit with your schedule, try an earlier one? Or a Saturday night one? Or a mid-week one? But try to make it to church weekly in some way or other. Study after study show how much it helps us to feel connected to a real physical community. Take the research seriously. (Church attendance even made it into the 10 commandments by the way. God didn’t do that by accident. Grin.)
- Read from different sources. We are in the beginning of an election year, in a moment in history when mass communications and social media can be used in ways that few anticipated. People can use money and technology to give voice to things and ideas that aren’t true – and aren’t helpful to you as an individual and to us as a community. If you just read people and media that you agree with, you have no chance of stopping that unhealthy and dangerous process.
I’ve made it a practice to read people that thoughtfully annoy the heck out of me, because I want to make sure I’ve heard the other way of looking at events. I’m not encouraging what’s called “what-aboutism” which is merely responding to a concern with a counter concern. What I mean is to find the thoughtful balanced comments that disagree with what I think is true. And then to engage them as a corrective on the (rare? -grin) occasions when I have it wrong.
Whatever you have planned for the coming year, do remember to take care of yourself: spiritually, physically and emotionally. I don’t think this coming year is going to be any less fast paced than the past one has been, and if you and I are to be of service and support to our neighbors, we need to be healthy enough to help.
God bless you all in this new year!