In the continuing spirit of the New Year, I offer here the recent words of our United Church of Christ President Rev. John Dorhauer as he seeks to re-think the meaning and purpose of New Year’s resolutions.
To our United Church of Christ Churches: Happy New Year!
I am not really one who takes new year’s resolutions all that seriously. What I have taken to, instead of promises to myself to change behaviors that I will return to within weeks, is using the turn of the new year to remind myself what I want to spend my life’s energy on.
So, here is my top ten list of commitments to change the world for the common good.
- Love More – This isn’t #10 because it’s the least important. I wanted this to be first because it grounds all other options. More love. More stories of love. More actions that emanate from love. Just more love.
- More family: I have a family that doesn’t see me as much as they should. Time with them restores my soul. My job gets in the way. This year, more family. More mom; more grandchildren. More Mimi. More family.
- The UCC will again run the Our Faith Our Vote campaign, reminding people of faith that when we vote we do so to support the poor, the vulnerable, the oppressed, the earth, peace, justice – and so many other important matters.
- The Earth. Our mother is sick. We are the cause. Only we can heal her, and by doing so we will heal ourselves. Without this commitment to change, we will continue to witness disaster after disaster, destruction after destruction.
- White Privilege: We start with teaching white people how their privilege manifests itself. Won’t be easy – because most of us are in complete denial about it. After that, we learn new behaviors that emerge from nothing but that love for all I talked about earlier.
- Reparations: We must repair the damage. This won’t be easy. The damage has been inflicted for 400 years on this soil. It will take more than the transfer of and access to wealth and power – but it has to include that. And the Church has a role here. We can’t ask the nation and those who inhabit it to do something we have not done ourselves.
- Welcome the stranger: Yes, this is about immigrant and refugee justice. But also remember the stranger you meet on the street each day. Practice a spirit of welcome to all whom you meet. Let that spirit infuse you. When we all do that there will be no need for a wall.
- Smile: Tikh Nhat Han once wrote: “Sometimes, my joy is the source of my smile. At other times, my smile is the source of my joy.” Choose joy. Cultivate it. Smile more often. Let that be the greeting you offer those around you. It makes a difference.
- Peace: War must end. We aren’t throwing rocks and hurling insults at each other anymore. Drones, chemical weapons, and nuclear arsenals now give us the capacity to end life as we know it without discrimination. All die in this new wave of hatred of the other. Time to unlearn the ways of war.
- Quiet: We all need more time in silence. No noise. No distractions. No wandering thoughts about impending anxiety. Soul time. Silent time. A quieting of mind, body, and spirit that refreshes us. More of this.
May this year bring you new joy, and advance the causes of peace and justice as we follow in the way of Jesus Christ. –Rev. John Dorhauer
And as we continue to travel through this New Year and this Epiphany season, I look forward to our continued ministry together at First Congregational Church to bring healing, hope and love to those in our congregation and far beyond our walls.
See you in church,