Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
He was in the world that had come into being through him, and the world did not recognize him. He came to his own and his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from God himself
We step into a new year, hoping it will bring a new beginning, fresh and free from the encumbrances that weighed us down for the past 12 months … or longer.
We hope to be new, changed, better, happier. “Pray for me,” a man said as he knelt before me at a prayer station on a recent Sunday. “I want to be a better man.”
Such is our hope and desire though we often want this to come with as little pain or effort as possible. But this is not a day to carp about our weakness or the resistance to growth that hinders our efforts
This is a day to step into a new space, and the space that awaits today and each new day is that gracious circle around Jesus. It is a space of welcome and peace where what you have done or not doesn’t matter today.
All that matters is his unqualified invitation to come and be near him. The prayer of the young man at the prayer station finds its answer there.
Newness comes through a bit of cooperation. We need to step into the gracious circle around Jesus and let his nearness work its ways in us.
Newness comes in ways and at a time we do not control but only receive. It starts with getting near the heart of Jesus, feeling the atmosphere of total welcome that surrounds him, the hunger of the love that pours from hidden depths of his soul.
It is there … in this space … that newness of heart and life come. It is not magic, although it feels that way sometimes. It happens for us the same way it happened at the beginning of Jesus ministry.
Curious souls, hurting hearts, people who wanted to be new--who wanted the whole world to be made new--came to Jesus to listen and to see what was in him. They were welcomed into a circle of watching and seeing, listening and learning, loving and failing but never being cast aside.
They were welcomed in the fullness of their humanity, and as they were with Jesus their hearts were changed and minds reshaped.
Their hearts opened like flowers in springtime as they began to feel and know within themselves the Loving Mystery who filled him. They discovered that they, too, carried that Holy One, within.
The kingdom of God was within them, but they didn’t know it until they had dwelt a time with Jesus.
But knowing, their hearts changed, their convictions and commitments shifted, their hungers and passions were reshaped so that they wanted nothing more than to live from this indwelling of God, which appeared within them as they lived in the circle around Jesus.
Now we step into a new year, perhaps with a resolution or two, but also with the invitation to step into the space around Jesus. We enter as we read his words and let them jangle around in us, praying and offering to God whatever random thoughts and feelings appear.
We quiet ourselves on walks or in a private space hoping to hear that Voice that is his speaking in our depths, telling us what our hearts need to know
We find ways to receive the sacraments of his presence, entering those places and talking to those people that awaken our hearts to the love he is. As we do, this love flowers within us bringing peace and a more spacious open way of living.
And newness comes, as gift and grace.
Pr. David L. Miller