Saturday, 3 January 2015

Sermon January 4th 2015

 New Beginnings

And so it begins!!
The New Year – twenty-fifteen is upon us.
And although at this time of year it is traditional to start off on a new fresh track; to resolve to make a difference; to plan new projects; to be renewed and refreshed, I would like to point out that all year long there is newness.
Each new month; each new anniversary; each new day – is an opportunity to restart – so all is not lost if the January resolutions are forgotten in February.
I want share a poem with you – it is rather beautiful, it was written by an amazing Jewish writer, Alden Solovy last year, and I have had it on the pin board above my desk all last year as a reminder of that chance, that opportunity to start over – whenever it’s need.

A New Year Begins 
Every moment a new year begins 
Something lost.
Something gained. 
Every day, a new challenge. 
Every hour, a new choice. 
Every second, a new chance. 
 God of Old, 
In this moment, a baby will be born, 
And a child will die. 
In this moment, lovers will marry, 
And others will split. 
In this moment, someone will hear 
That their medical treatments succeeded, 
And others will be told 
To prepare to die. 
 Every moment a new year begins.  
Something lost. 
Something gained. 
Let me love gently in the morning 
And ferociously at night. 
Let me dance wildly at dawn 
And slowly at dusk. 
At midnight, let me sing quietly, 
And at midday I will croon, full voice. 
I will breathe in a soul of compassion 
And breathe out a soul of peace. 
 Creator of All, 
Every moment a new year begins. 
The flow of fresh light from heaven 
Touches our hearts. 
Something lost. 
Something gained. 
Let it be for blessing. 
Let it be for healing. 
Let it be for shelter. 
Let it be for wisdom and strength. 
Let us be, in this moment, 
your messengers of kindness on earth. 
© 2013 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Messengers of kindness on earth – that’s something to aspire to in 2015.

And so to the stars!
Things written in the stars....
For the wise men, the stars told of the birth of a new king... and the portent was such that they gave up home and familiarity to make that perilous journey into the unknown – with a star and eternal hope their greatest motivation.

The stars spelled it out for them: their star words were invitation, journey, amazement, opportunity, worship, pathfinding, prophecy, determination.... wonder.
Wonder indeed!
And they felt compelled to act!
Would that any of us had such resolve!

What happened next we know, and the story is familiar... so instead of visiting with that little family, take a moment now to think about what was written in the stars for you last year.

If you were here this time last year; you took a word for the year – for 2014, as you think back over it, how did it fit?
Last year, before you took your words, I asked some questions of you – asked you to reflect on the year past; it seemed good then, and it still seems good now!

What was the overriding theme for you last year?
What had you hoped for - What did you get?
Where did you find answers?
Who was your greatest inspiration?

Thinking about your word, and how long you kept it; how often you referred to it – how has it affected the way you looked at the world? At your life?

My word was direction.
And all this year as I have written; as I have started new projects and completed others I have pondered the direction God has called me in.
It has been an interesting, and sometimes challenging thing to look at my world through God’s directing – for this is how that word has followed me in the past year, asking God for direction; seeking wisdom and discernment; as I drew my word – I was hoping for something spectacular! Spirit/ challenge/ joy / proclamation!!! Direction seemed a little – well, ordinary? But as things moved, and progressed I began to feel supported; protected; things did not always go in the direction I would choose – but then later, looking back I began to see that other, unexpected blessings were coming through these less welcome directions – nothing is ever too lost, too late or too hopeless for God to bring new hope from unanticipated directions.

There are more than 100 words in the bowl for you to pick from. None is the same as the ones from last year – each is individual, unique.
Pray over these different starwords; and their purpose for each of us – taken at random, treat them as a word to guide your prayers; to guide your life... a word from God

After we celebrate communion, I will invite those who are comfortable to come forward and take a star.
 If you want me to draw you a star later on, I will do that too.
Keep your star – pray that word
Let it guide you; inspire you
If at first it seems strange, or wrong, or uncomfortable – sit with it! Ask God to guide you.

And all through this new year, the star will remind you, inspire you, challenge you and ultimately by this time next year, you may have a whole other view... or outlook, or simply know that as God guided your prayers, and responded and responds, God also helped you to take the word he had for you, for this year! 

For any regular blog readers who will not be in church on Sunday - if you wish me to draw a word for you, please ask in the comments below 

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