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A word from Pastor Marla

Happy New Year 2022!

As we begin this new year, I want to share a prayer and some thoughts for the living of these days with you.

First is a prayer from Unfolding Light by Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes – It is a beautiful prayer for the ending of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. 

Secondly, I want to share from thoughts from a little book I first read many years ago entitled Christmas is Always by Dale Evans Rogers.  Cowgirl, singer and author, Dale was also the wife of American’s cowboy Roy Rogers.  Dale was a devoted follower of Jesus who found strength and purpose in each new day by remembering Jesus Christ can be born in us anew each and every day.

Thirdly, I share with you what I believe is one of the most powerful and challenging understanding of Christ’s coming to earth found in Howard Thurman’s Work of Christmas.  Rev. Howard Thurman was an American Baptist preacher and theologian, the first African American dean of chapel at a traditionally white Boston University, and a founder of the first interracial interfaith congregation in the United States. The Work of Christmas is inspired by Jesus’ statement of his mission found in Luke 4:16-20, specifically, verses 18 and 19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free…”

Lastly, I am including ‘12 Resolutions for 2022’ from my January 2nd sermon, “I So Resolve” based on the 3rd chapter of the Book of Proverbs. I pray you will find these ‘sharings’ helpful, inspiring and challenging as we simply trust Jesus day by day!

 “A Prayer at Year’s End” (“Unfolding Light,” Steve Garnaas-Holmes)

Eternal God, in the evening of this year I release the year to you. Not a day, not a breath, have I been without you, and I thank you. All that I have done is done; what I have not done I have not done. All of my sins and errors you have forgiven, and I release them. All of my triumphs are your doing, and I release them. The year is gathered into your harvest, to winnow and to save. My life is gathered into your grace. By your spirit in me may I learn from my mistakes, grow from my wounds, and deepen in gratitude for my gifts. And now I turn to a new year, grateful for your presence and your grace, seeking only to live in harmony with your delight, and open to your blessing and your leading. Whether my journey onward be long or short, it shall be in you, and I rejoice. Amen.

 Christmas is Always “Christmas, my child, is always.  It was always in the heart of God. It was born there. Only He could have thought of it.  Like God, Christmas is timeless and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting.  It is something even more than what happened that night in starlit little Bethlehem; it has been behind the stars forever.  There was Christmas in the heart of God before the world was formed. God gave Jesus to us, the night the angels sang, yes—but the Bible tells us that Jesus shared a great glory with the Father long before the world was made. Jesus was always, too!  God’s Spirit has always been, too; the Spirit ‘moved upon the face of the waters’ at the time of the beginning of the world.  And the Holy Spirit visited the mother of Jesus and brought forth our Lord as the Christ Child, in the manger… Christmas is always.  It has been always…Yes, my child, Christmas is always, for Jesus said, ‘Lo, I am with you always’ and Christmas is Jesus!”

12 Resolutions for 2022 based on Proverbs 3

Verses 1-2       Honor God

Verses 3-4       Let love and faithfulness never leave you

Verses 5-6       Trust in the Lord with all your heart

Verses 7-8       Do not be wise in your own eyes

Verses 9-10     Honor the Lord with your wealth

Verses 11-12   Do not despise the Lord’s discipline

Verses 13-24   Hold onto God’s wisdom

Verses 27-28   Do not walk by fear

Verses 29-30   Do no harm

Verses 31-32   Do not envy

Verses 33-35   Be righteous

In Christ’s Love, Pastor Marla

January 2022