The Lectionary invites us to begin each calendar year to reflect on beginnings. The Christmas 1 gospel reading for every year comes from the first lines of John’s Gospel,
- “In the beginning there was the Word;
- the Word was in God’s presence, and the Word was God.
- The Word was present to God from the beginning,
- and apart from the Word nothing came into being that has come into being.
- In the Word was life, and that life was humanity’s light–
- a Light that shines in the darkness,
- a Light that the darkness has never overtaken.”
- John 1:1-5 (The Inclusive Bible translation)
A clergy friend suggested this exercise, which I commend to you. “In the beginning was the Word.” What one word or phrase would you like to begin 2021 with? What word or phrase would you like to have as a beacon or or focus point for this year ahead?
I choose, “Steadfast Faithfulness.” Just as 2020 was a year of enormous change, 2021 will be too. In 2020, we learned quickly and imperfectly how to move to online ministry and worship. In 2021, my job as rector will be helping us become a both-and church. Healthy congregations will never go back to purely in person ministry and worship. From now on, we will need to have both a meaningful online presence and a lively in-person reality. Our church will continue to weather massive changes as we move into this both-and reality. There will be points of friction and disappointment and imperfection. And there will be lots and lots more for me to learn. So my phrase for the year will be “Steadfast Faithfulness.” Amidst all the continuing changes, my deep desire will be to be Faithful to God’s call to me, and Steadfast in acquiring that which is needed to lead a both-and congregation. I ask God to surround and support my desire to have Steadfast Faithfulness in 2021.
What word or phrase do you desire to hold onto in 2021?