New Year, Fresh Start!
The prophet Isaiah wrote: "18Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19
While we do not want to dwell on the past, at the beginning of this new year of 2021, it is good to reflect upon our journey in 2020. Our year began with the usual plans for worship services, Bible studies, meetings and ministry projects. We joyously planned for the second ordination within three months. And then, just as Lent had begun, a virus entered our world and changed everything that was “normal” in our lives. 2020 was a year of adaptation. We changed the way we shop, we changed the way we gather, we added a new item to our wardrobes – masks. We changed the way that we gathered for worship, Bible study and council meetings. The ministries that were a part of our routines were suddenly being modified. We stayed home more. We were particular about whom we would get physically close to. We said our final goodbyes to loved ones in ways that felt inadequate and unfair. We re-opened our doors only to close them again.
All of that needs to be remembered, because it changed us. The journey of 2020 taught us many things. We learned that we often disagree. We learned that, when it comes to those that we love, decisions about caring for them are difficult. We learned that there was a thing called Zoom, and that it would allow us to worship and hold meetings from the comfort and safety of our homes. We learned that there are more neighbors in need around us than we realized. We learned that we could still feed the hungry, diaper little bottoms, and provide encouragement and support to those in need. We were intentional about reaching out to each other, just to check in. We shared our laments, and yes, our joys – for there were joyful times in the midst of the pandemic.
We celebrated life through baptisms and weddings. We celebrated the lives of those who have joined the Church Triumphant. We cried together, and we laughed together. And in all of it, we were led by the same God who led the Israelites through the wilderness. With every step that we took on our journey of 2020, God was leading us and changing us.
That is what a new year offers us. Before us is an uncertain future. Before us is a year of endless opportunities. We can make all the plans that we want, but we can only move forward, one step at a time. We can do this, because every step that we take is one that is taken with God. God is making a way in the wilderness. God is doing a new thing.
Your Pastoral Team wishes you a Happy and Blessed New Year.
Credo for the New Year:
That I enter a glorious new year
To be filled with prayer and praise.
With service to God and mankind,
With inspired creative activity.
That God’s presence goes with me
Wherever I shall go this year,
By train or plane or car or boat,
Slowly paced on foot, or high in air.
His love is shining in my body,
His wisdom guides my mind,
His peace fills me with poise,
His strength is ever at my call.
Oh I believe
That this is God’s new year.
- Elizabeth Searle Lamb
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773