Not surprisingly on Sunday morning, January 1, 2017, New Year’s Day the news programs were full of resolutions to be made to generally improve our lives. Don’t get me wrong I need to eat less sugar, fat and carbs with the rest of America and of course, be kinder. I know that just as predictably in the next few days will be another news item about how difficult it is to keep all those resolutions and how few of us do. I have been wondering how not to spin around in that rather fatalistic cycle as the new year begins.
The only other time that I encounter the word resolution is in the ongoing life of the church during diocesan conventions or the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Making lots of resolutions and debating them with great passion seemed to be part of life early on in my ministry as a priest. Of late there are fewer and fewer resolutions at diocesan conventions. Much of this has to do with a lot of teaching on the part of Bishops that we should be creating resolutions that really speak to how we can best conduct ourselves as ambassadors of Christ Jesus in the world. That means creating resolutions to which we all hold ourselves accountable as a community of the diocese of Maryland in our case and as Emmanuel Church. In other words, we are called to create resolutions with well-defined ways of implementing them and hoped for outcomes.
So my first counsel in 2017 is that as laudable as it is to resolve to be a better person or improve oneself without a plan to carry out that resolution it is pretty much no more than the air in which it is spoken or thought. My second piece of counsel is that it helps to have a community on board with you when you resolve to change yourself or even your own little corner of the world. I think we greatly underestimate the power of our communities of faith and their resources to help transform us into the new creation that Christ was born to redeem. As you and I resolve to be different in this new year, consider how a conversation with a friend, a family member, a member of Emmanuel might equip you to keep such a promise. Remember that God is listening to your resolve to be transformed. Prayer is one of the other great resources of support for each of us and collectively as we seek to live in a world in need of God’s hope, love and justice.
Make a resolution and help yourself and help others figure out how to keep it. The world turns and yearns for the love and the light of Christ God may be calling you to be.