A New Year? A New Spirit!

The month of January means…a new year, a new calendar and a new number to write on checks, on letters and on documents.

A new year means…change…for each one of us…in some way.

If a new year means “change,” then why not allow a change of spirit, too?

Our spirit—our human spirit–is our most precious internal possession. Our spirit constitutes our greatest source of human energy. Our spirit is to us what roots are to a tree and what wings are to a bird. And, while our spirit is capable of ascending to great heights, our spirit is also capable of plummeting to great depths.

The spirit can be an oak unmoved in a storm or a frail reed swaying in the wind.

The spirit can be a blazing fire or a dying ember.

The spirit can be a restless stream or a stagnant pond.

The spirit can be a sail filled with wind or a limp flag.

The spirit can be a desert wild flower or a hothouse-raised highbred.

The spirit can be a piece of granite or a piece of china.

What is it that causes the spirit to sink? And what is it that causes the spirit to soar?

Sadness weighs the spirit down. Joy lifts the spirit up.

Criticism erodes the spirit. Praise fortifies the spirit.

Failure shrinks the spirit. Success expands the spirit.

Despair causes the spirit to wilt. Hope breathes new life into the spirit.

Rejection wounds the spirit. Acceptance heals the spirit.

Fear poisons the spirit. Love purifies the spirit.

Hatred cripples the spirit.

Solitude calms the spirit.

Prayer strengthens the spirit.

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The month of January is often a time when humans—fleetingly—consider New Year’s resolutions.

Many of us have heard these resolutions. Some of us have spoken these resolutions. Few of us have implemented these resolutions.

“In this new year, I will…
—— …eat differently,
—— …drink differently,
—— …exercise differently,
—— …live differently.”

The care and health of the human spirit are as vital to human life as are the care and health of the human body.

A doctor asks, “What are you doing to take care of the health of your body?”

God asks, “What are you doing to take care of the health of your spirit?”

In Psalm 51:10 is this one-verse prayer:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit
within me.

God invites us, “Come to me that I may put a new and right spirit within you.”

In this New Year, how may God put a “new and right spirit” within you?

The ways that God may change your spirit are many. I offer two ways:
—— 1. Allowing God to reach into you
—— 2. Allowing God to reach out through you

You allow God to reach into you when you share in God’s spirit within the worship and fellowship of a faith community: Attending worship services, participating in fellowship gatherings, assembling for prayer, meeting for scriptural or spiritual study.

You allow God to reach out through you when you share God’s spirit with others: calling or visiting a homebound individual, extending a spoken or written word of care to those who are grieving and suffering, contributing (physically or materially) to the life of a faith community in its worship, its fellowship, its mis- sion and its on-going operations.

In this New Year, both God and The United Church of Warsaw invite you to allow a “new and right spirit” to be born in you. May you share in the worship, fellowship, prayer, study, mission and on-going operations of The United Church.

Allow God to reach into you. Allow God to reach out through you. God’s blessings of the New Year…to you and through you.

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara