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Arise and Shine

New Year — Same Promise

One of the most spectacular sunrises I’ve ever witnessed was 2015 on the island of Kauai. I could feel the warmth of the late spring sun. The life giving trade winds washed over me. I could see the ocean stretch our before me. I was enveloped in a moment of calm and peace. Looking at that picture today I can feel those same experiences. On that morning, a new day of adventure awaited and what I made of it would depend on what I brought to it and what decisions I would make.

Overlooking the Na Pali Coast 2015

As we stand at the beginning of a new calendar year I feel very much like I did the day this picture was taken. From the vantage point of the new year, I can see the path as it stretches out. While I can’t see over the horizon and I don’t know what the wind and tides may bring, what I can see in ministry excites me. The hard work of many in these last years and the generosity and commitment of the entire congregation has constructed a strong foundation for our ministry and outreach to grow to meet the challenges and possibilities of a new year.

The Light We Follow, Kindled In Us

While it is true we have worked hard, we haven’t done it on our own. God’s grace has guided us, sustained us and empowered us every step of the way. God has not led us from afar. The star we followed was not some distant celestial event. The light that shone on our path was from the intimate presence of God. God’s light shines as a promise, an eternal promise, that is a gift each and every day.

We are not merely spectators or passive recipients of it. When God’s light shines around us it kindles something within us. The texts we will be sharing in worship this week speak of life altering promises that come when we are touched by the light of God’s promise. The prophet Isaiah bears witness to a heart that thrills at the experience. Matthew’s Gospel, in telling the story of the Magi from the east, shares how the fairly routine practice of bringing gifts to a foreign King ends in them laying themselves down before him.

With all that is before us in this new year, there is one thing I know for certain: Committing ourselves to be bearers of the light of God’s promise of abundant life is the surest way to navigate our way through the year. In the weeks to come we explore the dimensions of God’s promise and how we can strengthen our life, ministry and witness.

Living As Disciples

What faith practices and habits help your light to shine bright in the world?