Visions for 2018

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” -Matthew 25:31-32
This scripture comes to us from Matthew’s gospel about the judgement of the nations. It is well worn scripture for those who feel called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the sick and imprisoned. The extended scripture from Matthew 25:31-46 is a direct passage about how to follow Jesus. With this vision, it is impossible to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ without caring for others. It is impossible to be a Christian without offering compassion and mercy to other people. Matthew 25 is compelling and at the beginning of the year offers guidance for any ‘resolutions’ you might be making.
Making resolutions is a tired practice, but for people of faith, this is a great time to reignite your spiritual practices. What ways do you want to live your faith this year? Are you ready to add daily prayer to your life? Would you like a daily scripture reading or devotional activity? Do you feel called to connect to a hospital, prison or provide clothes or welcome to a stranger? There are more scriptures of more suggestions for faith resolutions that might be more suited to you.
Galatians 5:22-26 name the fruits of the Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Do any of these have a pull on your heart? Do you need to develop kindness toward others as a practice and speak less negativity and more positive encouragement to others? Is there are lack of peace or patience in your heart? With the pain of the world, sometimes our hearts falter and struggle with the fruits of the Spirit. Just like adding physical exercise at the beginning of the year, adding exercises for our Spirit is a faithful goal.
It has been a long painful year for many people. I’m getting lots of calls for prayer and hearing from people who are fearful and anxious. As the page of the calendar turns, take time to consider the blessings in your life. And perhaps consider what are you anticipating for 2018? Make a resolution to grow closer to God and live the life you are called to.
My prayers are with you on your journey! Much love and peace to you in 2018!
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw

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