The Pastor's Peace - January, 2016
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It is almost a new year yet again, and we will be welcoming in 2016 all too soon. It is tempting as always to write about the transition from one year to another. I would usually write about how this is an opportunity for a new beginning and how this can be seen as a metaphor for the new beginning found in Christ. This is all well and good, and if you were looking for that message, then I guess I just provided it in brief. I am choosing, however, to write about something else, partially because I am a bit worn down from the world that we live in, with a new tragedy unfolding seemingly every day. So, yes, 2016 does offer something new, and I pray an improvement to the last several months, but instead of talking about that, I will tell you about a road trip I had today.

I am writing this a good couple of weeks before January as evidenced by what I did today, which was to take all of the children’s toys and clothes we gathered down to Washington UCC in Cincinnati. As many of you know, this is a church we work with that operates a mission in one of the poorer neighborhoods in Cincinnati. They do wonderful work, especially with children, and all of the items we donated will go to those kids for Christmas. When I arrived there, I saw the usual work they were doing, preparing a lunch for folks, and getting ready to open their “free store,” where people can get some essentials they need. I brought in our bags of items, and they were so appreciative. Not only that we would help out, but also that a small church like ours cares enough to put together such an offering. I hugged the pastor there, Pastor Pam, we talked about the next year, and offered each other encouragement.

As I left I was struck again by the monumental task that Washington UCC has undertaken: in the midst of poverty that seems to never end, they stand forth to do the good work of Christ. You see, the thing that is important to keep in mind whenever we look towards the New Year, or day, or place, for some sort of salvation, is that the current place we are in is perhaps not as bad as we fear. Everywhere in the world people are working to show Christ’s love.

This was true this year, and last, and all the years before it. Despite the challenges we see around us, Christ is present with us and working in the world. So Happy New Year, and I hope that 2016 is a year filled with love and kindness, but I say that knowing that these things were found in this year as well, and all I needed to do was look for them. Look for Christ’s love in your life and in the world, this year, next year, and every year of your life.

Peace and Happy New Year,
Pastor Bryan