The Pastor's Peace - January, 2012
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Much of the world celebrates New Year’s Day on January 1st. There are other calendars besides the Gregorian calendar that we use, such as those in China, Ethiopia, and Iran, to name a few. For us, however, it is the good old Gregorian. Our current calendar was introduced in 1582 and was a correction of the Julian calendar that had existed since 45 BC, when it was introduced by Julius Caesar. Slightly before this, around 153 BC, the month of January was named after the Roman god Janus, who was the god of gates, doors, beginnings, and transitions. Janus was also depicted with two faces; this was not because he was “two faced,”, but rather because he always kept an eye on both the past and the future.

Even though Janus was a pagan god of a culture long gone, I think there are some interesting things we can still learn as we think about transitioning from this year to the next, or any transition for that matter. I also think that Jesus often taught about the importance of keeping both the past and the future in mind as we live in the present. Sometimes I have seen people try to make a change in their life, being only concerned with the future and not with what got them to where they are. The past sometimes is difficult. There are bad memories, or things we are not proud of. They, however, are part of who we are and offer lessons on how we can transition into a better place. It is said that you will never know where you are going if you forget where you came from. I think Jesus knew and understood this.
Jesus kept a balance of the old and new. Jesus often spoke of the importance of the traditional Jewish law, even though in many ways he was reforming it. Jesus also spoke of people becoming new and of the new creation to come, but at the same time we remember that creation, and we as part of it, were always good and always part of God. It can be difficult to remember our past mistakes and sometimes, once we make a change, we want to forget the “old us.”

However, the old us was still good, and still part of God. We have always been loved and worthy creations of God, even when we didn’t always do what was best for ourselves or others. Our bad decisions do not change the fact that we are created in God’s image. This is the beauty of God’s grace. We are always loved by God; we are always given God’s grace through Christ. It is up to us to accept it. Once we understand and accept this grace, it will affect our outlook on both the future and the past. We will see that we were always worthy of God’s love, even when we failed to understand what that meant. As you celebrate the New Year this January think about the future, and think about how you can live more fully into the role God has created for you. Remember that God has always been with us through our journey of life. Any and all mistakes are lessons, and the lessons learned will further shape us into the image God has made. Blessings to you this New Year and blessings for our work at Beaver church to be the body of Christ to each other, and the world around us.

Peace and Happy New Year,
Pastor Brian