United Church of Christ

New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s admit we’re not always good at this; and that, as they say, the road to heaven is paved with good intentions.

Yes, we can all recite a long list of promises we made to change something, to adopt a new behavior when the New Year rolled around only to go on living just the way we always have, sinking back into established patterns and habits once the newness wore off.

Yet and still, there is something to this whole New Year’s resolution thing. It is deeply theological, after all. Our encounters with the Sacred reveal a willingness to forgive. We think of forgiveness as a metaphorical wiping the slate clean – with a chance to start again and amend for past behaviors.

We speak of God’s grace – that single act that implies that forgiveness comes not because we have earned that new start, but because the heart of God and the love that emanates from it offer it freely as a way of restoring to fullness a relationship the Divine remains fully invested in.

So, if the very heart of God is invested in a renewal of our spirit that restores to us a new sense of wholeness and balance – is it not then a noble and sacred thing for us to make promises to try and do better? Of course it is.

Admittedly, we can do that any time; and arbitrarily assigning that work to the turning of the calendar seems a bit capricious. But hey, we are human – making us prone to walking through the day unaware of our shortcomings and blissfully ignorant of matters in need of attention. Therefore, if what it takes is the turning of a calendar to do an annual accounting of matters in need of change or improvement – so be it.

There. That feels good to say. And having said it, I feel a need to offer some suggestions about what I might commit to in the coming year that will help me live a better life.

I’ll offer three things.

I want to do a better job communicating to and with people who are important to me, but whom I often neglect because my life can get crazy busy. This is a matter of establishing new priorities. I’m not talking about communication that the job requires – but the kind of communication that is unexpected and maybe even nothing more than an extravagance.

I want to discover room for exercising regularly. That almost feels cliché – and of course it is. But wholeness comes from a commitment to care for one’s entire being – and for the first time in my life I am allowing a hectic schedule to become the excuse for me NOT doing this more regularly. I suffer a bit because of it.

I want to worship more. I’m in worship a lot – but that doesn’t mean I always worship. If you lead worship often, you know what I’m talking about. I want to find more opportunities to just be present with others as we discover the sacred among us and offer to Her own responses of praise and gratitude. My spirit needs more of that.

That’s my list.

What’s on yours? It is, after all, a New Year – a new canvas on which to paint an unfolding future. In partnership with your Sacred one, feel free to make a promise that can improve your health, your life, your world. And may the Spirit of the living God walk with you as you seek together a new pathway opening you up to new possibilities on this, our journey Into the Mystic.