Another Lap Around the Sun

Pastor’s Newsletter Article for January, 2014

A friend of mine is fond of declaring, every year on his birthday, that he has survived “another lap around the sun.” He says this to be funny, of course. But there is something I love about this phrase. It puts my friend in relationship to the world – the cosmos, really – that surrounds him. He is not just the guy who lives in my hometown. He is not just the friend whom I enjoy visiting when I travel back there. He is also the man who is understood in terms of his place on this planet, and in God’s vast universe.

As we begin a new year together – as we set off on another lap around the Sun – it is good for us to think about our place on this planet, and in God’s universe. We have been claimed in the waters of our baptism, comforted by the promises of the Gospel, and called by Christ to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (St. Matthew 28:19-20) Faithfulness to this commission calls us to do everything we can to remember that we are welcomed into God’s love just as we are, and sent into God’s world to represent Christ’s love.

With that in mind we build faith practices in our personal lives. We know that we can only share what we ourselves first have. If we wish to share faith (and the invitation to discipleship) with others, it is helpful for us to grow in our own capacity to trust God’s promises and live as disciples. At Saint Peter we promote Five Discipleship Habits that can help make this happen. Daily prayer, weekly worship, monthly (at least) involvement in community service, financial generosity and meeting with a small group or faith partner can help us grow deeper into our faith, and have more to share with others.

We build faith practices in our households. It is well documented that the home is the most effective place to nurture faith in the lives of young people. Saint Peter encourages every household to consider “Faith 5” practices in their daily life together. Share highs and lows. Read the Bible. Talk about God’s Word. Pray for one another. Bless children every night. For more ideas about how to do this, see the back page of the Youth & Families Ministries insert in this newsletter, or visit www.faith5.org.

We build faith practices in our life together as a congregation. We are fortunate to belong to a vibrant and inspiring community of faith at Saint Peter. The more invested we are in our common life, the richer of an experience it will be for us. We encourage every participant to be generous in the ways you support our ministries (with your time, your talents, and your financial support). Find a way to become more and more involved in our congregation outside of Sunday morning, and you will discover what a rich blessing that can become in your life.

Many people pause at the beginning of each lap around the sun to make resolutions about how life will be richer, better and more faithful in the coming year. If you do so this year, I hope you’ll make some resolutions regarding your personal faith life, the faith that is nurtured in your home, and your support and participation at Saint Peter. With God’s help, we pray that this lap will be better than any that have come before!

A Very Happy New Year to You All, Pastor Dave