January 2021 Tidings

Pastor’s Ponderings

When the angel told Mary that she would bear the Christ child, we are told Mary “pondered” the angel’s message. In Greek, the word, “ponder” means “to throw” or to “put together.” The Greek tells us that Mary took all of the many parts of her life experience—her thoughts, her observations, her knowledge and wisdom—and brought them together to help her make sense out of what was happening, and what it will all mean for her and for the life of the world.

I have heard so many people say that they can’t wait for 2020 to end. There were a lot of challenges this past year: the pandemic, a divisive election and riots, just to name a few. We all hope that 2021 will look a lot different with a vaccination, a new president, and the awareness of the many “-isms” in our culture. 

As your interim pastor, I invite you to “ponder” this meditation that I found in the book, “Out of the Ordinary,” by Joyce Rupp. I pray that it will be helpful in discerning where you are now both personally, and as the community of faith. Also, where is God calling both you and the community of faith as you move into the new year?

A New Year’s Meditation:

 1. What name would you give to your journey of the past year?

How would you describe it to one of your friends?

What image or metaphor would you use to talk about it?

2. What were some of your “epiphanies” of the past year (your discoveries of the Holy One in your midst)?

How did you grow because of them?

3. Who were your wise persons?

What did they reveal to you?

How did this influence your life?

4. Did any of your hopes and dreams become a reality?

5. What was most satisfying about the year?

6. What was least satisfying?

7. How did your experience of the past year affect the world in which you live?

As you look to the year before you:

  1. What name would you like your new year’s journey to have?
  2. Do you find any resistance within you?
    Of what are you most afraid as you enter a new year?
  3. What is your greatest need for the coming year?
  4. Who do you bring with you for your support and strength as you begin to journey through the year?
  5. What is at the heart of your new year’s prayer?

Next, place in your open hands:

… your whole life, all your concerns, cares, hopes, dreams, joys,

… any specific persons with whom you feel especially bonded, or hope to be, in the new year,

… the beauty of creation,

… anything or anyone else whom you are especially mindful of bringing into the new year with you.

Entrust yourself to the Holy One. Pray your prayer of concern and hope as you begin this new year. (You may want to pause and write down your response.) Place all of your life into those hands and give all to the Holy One. Go with peace and hope into the new year. 

You are in my prayers. Please keep me in yours!

Pastor Christine

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