In this week’s edition of our weekly newsletter, Scott reflects on the start of the new year–and how we can embrace this time of trying again.
Dear friends in Christ,
Happy New Year! It could be said that this is a silly holiday. After all, we’re just turning over a new calendar page. But it’s more than that. Our culture encourages us to try out new year’s resolutions, some new habit that will improve our lives. A couple of years ago, I read that gyms are packed in early January, but then they’re back to normal by February. We try to do something new, but then old habits set in.
As you probably know, our baptismal service includes a baptismal covenant. After we re-affirm our faith with the Apostles’ Creed, we make five promises. Usually these days in church, we hear about the last two: promises to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself” and to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” Personally, I love the second promise we make, to “persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord.”
Notice that it doesn’t say IF we fall into sin, but WHEN we fall into sin. We get constant do-overs. All we’re asked to do is try. Try again and again. We can’t do this on our own, which is why we promise to do these things only with God’s help.
The picture here shows a winding road. It’s like that with life, isn’t it? The path winds. Sometimes we find ourselves off the path, walking into the weeds. All we’ve promised to do is try to get back on the path. I find that very liberating and empowering. I will try again, with God’s help.
So maybe this new year, this season of resolutions is a helpful time for us to try again. Every day is a good day for a do-over, and today is no different. What do you want to try again? What do you want to be better at? Getting a do-over, trying again, is ordinary language for a churchy word, repentance. The entire life of a Christian is meant to be devoted to repentance, to trying again, to growing into the full stature of Christ. And today is the best day to start.