Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year -- New Beginning

Monday, January 2, 2012 -- The 9th day of Christmas , Year Two
Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah, First Indian Anglican Bishop, Dornakal, 1945

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p 941)
Psalms 34 (morning)        33 (evening)
1 Kings 19:1-8
Ephesians 4:1-16
John 6:1-14 

It is a good thing to make a new beginning.  We can feel so haunted, encumbered and bound by the past.  Sunrise, like resurrection, gives us new birth, new life.  Every experience of confession and forgiveness relieves the burden of accumulated guilt and bestows a fresh start.

There is something especially renewing about the turning of the year.  It is a time to let go of the past and to embrace the possibility of a new future.  We make resolutions.  Some create goals for the year.  We reclaim our birthright to live a full and wholesome life. 

Last January our friend Philip Zweig who volunteers for our Community Meals feeding program made a new year's resolution to ride his bicycle every day -- a commitment to a growing practice of sustainability, letting go of dependence upon the automobile and embracing a healthier form of travel.  He invited others to join him in his discipline by pledging a small donation to Community Meals for each mile he would ride.  Two days ago at the end of the year, Philip rode a leisurely victory lap with friends, having accomplished his goal of riding every day -- include days of rain, snow and ice -- riding over 10,000 miles in 2011.

If he can do that, what might I do?  I'm thinking of the disciplines that bring balance, health and wholeness to my life.  I'm thinking of the habits that derail and waste my life.  The new year offers an opportunity to let go of the latter and to embrace the former.

The morning psalm (34) offers encouragement:

1  I will bless God at all times,
       and praise shall ever be in my mouth.

5  Look upon the Most High and be radiant,
       and let not your faces be ashamed.

6  I called in my affliction, and God heard me
       and saved me from all my troubles.

8  Taste and see that God is good;
       happy are they who trust in the Most High!

12 Who among you loves life
       and desires long life to enjoy prosperity?

13 Keep your tongue from evil-speaking
       and your lips from lying words.

14 Turn from evil and do good;
       seek peace and pursue it.

18 God is near to the brokenhearted
       and will save those whose spirits are crushed.

19 Many are the troubles of the righteous,
       but God will deliver them out of them all.

22 O God, you will ransom the life of your servants,
       and none will be punished who trust in you.

Let us offer our resolutions to God with brokenhearted trust and radiant faces.  Today is a new beginning -- the dawn of new hope.  Behold, the past is gone and the future is nigh.  What can I do to help bring life and light to to this new year?

Lowell

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
--
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

5 Comments:

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous janet said...

Hi Lowell,

I read this early this morning and the Psalm was great news! I especially liked the part 19. Why is trouble visited on the righteous, I wonder, or maybe I'm just being presumptuous in my view of my unfair present jobless state.

It is interesting to note that most of the psalmist's encouragements can be done really well even without income!

Ouch, too funny.

Happy, Happy New Year!!

And great loving peace to you on your path this 2012,

Janet

 
At 8:09 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thanks for yesterday's comment, Janet,

There's a story that I remember as being attributed to St. Teresa of Avila. She was traveling on some good work, and her donkey bucked her off into the mud. She is reported to have said to God, "Well if this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them."

Lowell

 
At 11:41 AM, Anonymous janet said...

Ah yes,
A cute and wise saying and good laughter for the muddy way.

I really want to be like the peaceful monk, a mountain in my path, no problem, just climb it a step at a time, hanging on by fingertips on the cliff, no problem, big giant boulders, OK, rain, sleet, such lovely weather antics.. I guess God may be saying I need more practice.

janet

 
At 8:43 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Janet,
Your comment about the monk and the mountain reminds me of something I ran across recently. From the archeological remains of an ancient tribe in what is now the US Southwest, they have found highways that are exactly straight, connecting place to place. If there is a mountain in the way, they created a road right across the mountain, not deviating to go around the obstacle. Fascinating.

Lowell

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous janet said...

Without GPS and aerial views they probably followed the sun/stars/constellations from place to place, like the wise men, and the straight path following the star may have been the only way to know where you were going, mountain, river, ocean, straight across.. maybe

 

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