January 14, 2021
What is your one word focus for 2021?
In the first message of our New Year, New World, New Church message series I shared the word I am claiming and inviting all of us to claim together for 2021.
That word is GRACE.
For quite some time we have been living, “month after month of a day by day experience of a previously unimaginable life.” And while a new year has begun, we are still in the middle of that. The reality of a shared sense of exhaustion should not surprise us. To some degree we all feel that physically, mentally, and spiritually as well.
Over the course of time, life’s difficulties lead to a weariness of the soul.
We become more easily angered and are increasingly frustrated with ourselves, one another and the world around us. Our vision shrinks. Fear’s influence grows.
Faith in Christ points to GRACE as the antidote to this spiritual condition.
Grace softens the hardened heart. Compassion replaces our callousness. Healing begins to happen in the areas we have experienced harm. We start to see what we have been missing.
Where we previously felt an absence of God’s presence, we begin to see how God has been working and providing all along.
And this is one more reason why I believe GRACE must be our focus throughout the coming year.
While grace softens, it is important for us to recognize that grace also reveals.
And some of what grace will reveal in your life and mine will be difficult for us to see.
Some will see that our wounds are deeper than we had thought
Some will see that the hurt we have caused in others is greater than we realized.
We may begin to see that we have wandered further from “the path that leads to life” than we previously imagined.
Some of what grace reveals will be hard to face, and we will be tempted to turn away and ignore that which we do not want to see.
But by placing our faith in Jesus, God invites us to see ourselves as we really are. Grace calls us to see everything that the mirror reveals, and grace invites us to live in the confidence that – out of his great love for us – God will meet us in the very places we would rather keep hidden away.
What grace reveals that is difficult for us to see should send us to our knees. Faith is the confidence that God will join us there on the floor to hear our confession, to listen to our disappointment and frustration, and to be the hands that lift us up so that we can walk again.
A new year has begun.
May GRACE lead and guide our way.