By Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
The possibilities that come with a new year are always intriguing to me. I am somewhat amazed when we get the opportunity to start out fresh in a new year. I am always surprised that another year has passed.
What was accomplished? What did not get finished? What would I have done differently?
These are the kinds of questions that come to mind when we come to the end of another year of life and embark on a new one.
The days of our lives, as the soap opera reminds us, are like sand through an hourglass. Life moves ahead, and like it or not, we must go with it. We do not have the option of standing still, even though there are times when we wish more than anything that time would back up and we could change something.
We visited some friends two weeks before Christmas. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving their 2-year-old grandson, Charlie, died unexpectedly. There was no obvious cause to explain why Charlie was gone, and I could not help but think of the prayer we said with our girls when they were Charlie’s age: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
One of the hardest things we could ever have to do is to give a child back to God.
I share with you this sadness because it is important for us to remember that our time on the earth is temporary, but our time with God is forever. I often remember those words, “the eternal God is our dwelling place.” How important it is to keep that reality ever before us.
There is no way for us to know what the year of our Lord 2011 holds for us. There will be times on the mountain and times in the valley; life is like that. There will be opportunities to serve God as we are in ministry with the least and the last. We will have the possibility of making a positive difference in our world that is too often influenced by a popular culture that is not always wholesome and affirming.
And yet God invites us to be people who have committed ourselves to the One who will reign forever and ever. God invites us to strive to change that culture.
As we begin a new year, it is my prayer that we will stand on the promises of God our savior, and that as the church we will be all that God needs for us to be.
The commitment of the people called Methodist in South Carolina continues to inspire me, and for that I am thankful.