Greetings and God’s blessings to you this new year. 2020, a new year and the beginning of a new decade is upon us. 2019 was, like many past years, one of change, one of loss, one of gain, one of many different things for different people. Some of us said goodbye to loved ones who have moved on towards perfection in God. Others welcomed new lives into the world with love and care. Life is full of change, as we focused on in our Advent book in 2019, and it can often leave us feeling out of control and afraid or frustrated.
2020 will also be full of potential changes and unforeseen happenings, some of which could have a divisive impact on our denomination, as well as our country. In our denomination, we will be witness to General Conference 2020 which is likely to be full of tension, conflict, and even the potential beginning of a split or major shift in our denomination as United Methodists. I ask that you hold our denomination in your prayers that whatever the outcome, that ultimately, we trust in God to help lead us towards what God wants. That may be a split, it may be a compromise, but we won’t know if we refuse to ask and listen for God’s direction and leading.
2020 will also be an interesting year for our country as for just the third time in our nation’s history, the sitting president has been impeached. A quick reminder that impeachment is not the removal of the president definitively from office. Rather, it is like an indictment in criminal law and thus is what amounts to a statement of charges against the president. Given that, just like our nation, our congregation is made up of more than one political position and leaning, for some this may be seen as something to celebrate, while others may see it as an attack. I am not going to advocate here for one side or the other but rather will advocate that as this situation plays out that we remember that despite the things we disagree on, we are still brothers and sisters in Christ and that we treat each other with love and respect.
I also want us to keep in mind that with a new year comes the immeasurable potential for hope. Hope for love. Hope for growth. Hope for peace. Hope for new opportunities. Hope for reconciliation. Advent is the season of anticipation and our hope is found in Christ. May this new year be filled with hopes for you in whatever way you may need them, but mostly in your continued growth and understanding of your relationship with God. It’s a brand-new year, a brand-new decade, let’s make it amazing together as we serve the God of love and grace.