Saturday, December 31, 2005
New Year's Resolutions, Ecclesial Edition
New Year’s Resolution for 2001: I will read at least 20 good books this year.
…for 2002: I will read at least 10 books this year.
…for 2003: I will read 5 books sometime before I die.
…for 2004: I will finish The Pelican Brief.
…for 2005: I will try and finish the comics section this year.
It is January 2006, and time to make some resolutions again. Sure, it’s arbitrary. In 46 B.C.E. Julius Caesar established the date as a part of the Julian calendar. Sure, it doesn’t make any sense to start a year in the middle of winter. Beginning of spring would make a lot more sense; that’s when the ancient Babylonians celebrated. And by the way, the ancient Babylonians also began the practice of making a new year’s resolution. Their most common one was to return borrowed farm equipment.
But in spite of all that, there’s no reason not to engage in this annual ritual of self-improvement; it’s always a good idea to try to be better people than we are. In fact, I’ve come up with some resolutions I would like to make on behalf of the church.
- This year, the church will be less about membership than about discipleship.
- This year, Christian unity will be more about the mystery of God’s grace than about the uniformity of human belief.
- This year, the church will be more concerned about how we are growing spiritually than numerically.
- This year, the church will practice radical hospitality, passionate worship, relevant faith formation, risk-taking mission, and extravagant generosity.
How’re those? Admittedly, these are a little more difficult that cutting back on between-meal snacks. But I think they are at least equally as important. So let’s use this totally arbitrary, middle of the winter, just-another-excuse-to-throw-a-party occasion to try to be a better church than we are. With God’s help, the year 2006 may just be our best year ever, on our way to living in the perfect love of God. Happy New Year, everyone!