The time has come again, as old has gone and new has arrived.
Some of us pray that this year will not be like the last,
remembering only the pains, struggles, and losses of what often
seemed, at best, the meaningless march of one incessant second
after another. Some of us anticipate the new as our hearts beat to
the sound of a different drum that guarantees a fresh melody that
will forever change our symphony of existence.

This new day of promise offers sacred space that beckons us
to leave the celebrations, forgo anxieties, and simply rest in the
thought that God has made everything beautiful and appropriate
in its time. Life is, has, and will be experienced somewhere
in the range of this list of fourteen pairs of opposites in Ecclesiastes
3 that briefly define the totality of human experience.

The Teacher reminds us that God has placed eternity in our
hearts. Therefore, we realize that what we see is not all there
is. We search for purpose and reason, yet find ourselves unable
to grasp it all. The advice we receive for moving forward in
these coming seconds, minutes, and hours that will too quickly
become days, months, and another year is this: rejoice and do
good. We are to eat and drink and find pleasure in our work
because that is God's gift to us.

We often make it too complicated. We have been blessed to
“rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances”
(1 Thess. 5:16-18), while letting our good works point
others to the God who meets us on every pole and every point in
between. Our God is in the business of creating beauty.

May we rejoice, do good, and recognize the beauty regardless of our place on the continuum of existence.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 25:31-46

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Lectionary Week
January 1, 2017
Scripture Overview

The scriptures that mark the new year offer a panorama of perspectives, from Ecclesiastes as a poetic musing on how life is measured out in seasons, to the vision in Revelation of what we commonly consider the end of time itself. Psalm 8 asks what the role is for humans in God’s magnificent creation, and Matthew 25 gives us a sobering criterion for how that role might be judged. At the core of all these scriptures is a strong sense of God’s presence, a loving steadfastness in which we can rest. [With only one day given, the writer has chosen to write on the Ecclesiastes passage; the other texts are listed in the readings at the back of the book.]

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-13. How will you celebrate this new year? What practices will you consider taking up in order to participate fully in God’s future?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.