Worship Wilson – December 28, 2022

Make a Resolution of Faith for the New Year

by Rev. Sherard Edington

(The following is Sherard’s Worship Wilson column for the Wilson Post published on December 28, 2022.)

The Greeks and Romans of ancient times worshiped a complex pantheon of gods and goddesses. The Greeks had their Olympians such as Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and Ares. The Romans had Jupiter, Neptune, Venus, and others.

There was, however, one Roman god, Janus, who was wholly unique to Rome. Janus was the god of time. As god of time, Janus was depicted as having two faces—one looking forward to the future and one looking backward to the past. The backward-looking face was always older than the front-looking face.

Here, in the darkness of December, we are also looking forward and backward as we anxiously anticipate the start of another new year. It is not coincidence that the first month of each new year is called January, named after Janus, the god of time.

As we look toward January and the new year, it is always fun to consider the future and make lists of how we intend to improve our lives. Christians, however, have the added responsibility of considering our lives of faith. How, in the new year, might we continue to grow in our relationship to God?

A simple answer to that is, “Go to church.” If you have fallen out of the habit of regularly attending church, then you should return. If you stayed home because of COVID and are still on the couch, now is the time to get up. To be a Christian, you must be part of an active worshipping community.

If, however, you are housebound and physically unable to attend church, then let the church come to you. It can and it will. Meanwhile, even if you are unable to get to church, there is nothing stopping you from engaging in a ministry of prayer.

Being a Christian means embracing a larger community. A solo Christian is just the sound of one hand clapping. We come together to pray and praise God. We gather to study and learn and share. We hold one another accountable and lift up those who have fallen as well as being lifted up ourselves. Christians love one another.

If you do not have a church home, then I strongly urge you to find one. After the hubbub of Christmas, this is an excellent time to go church shopping. You can see what a church is truly like.

If you happen upon a church where you feel comfortable, keep moving. Church is not a place to be comfortable. It is a place that should continually challenge us and push us in how we live out our faith.

If you do have a church home, then, in this new year, commit to becoming more active. Step beyond yourself and into some dangerous discipleship. You won’t regret it.

Finally, you likely believe that I am writing this because I am a pastor and pastors just want more people in the pews. You are correct. I believe in the church, and I believe in the power of the church to change lives. It is God’s gift to us all.

So, with January nearly upon us, I call upon you to make time for God.

Sherard Edington has served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lebanon for 11 years. Worship Wilson is a weekly column written by pastors and people of faith.