Tony Robinson reminded me several years ago that the name of this month, “January,” comes from the ancient Roman deity, Janus – a lesser god but one who has always made sense to seekers after the heart of the Divine. Janus was the god of gates and doorways. He had two faces, one looking forward, another looking backward. So there is only a little surprise and much gratitude that in Psalm 121 God keeps a particular vigilant watch at our times of “going out and coming in,” our times of ending and beginning, and all that is between the two.
Sometimes January, and the beginning of a new year, feels like that. I look back over the year now past. And I peer into the new one just underway. Sometimes I’m not quite sure if I’m coming or going — which gets reinforced in the New Year every time I write the previous year in the date space on any form I have to sign.
Transitions — whether of the calendar or in the seasons of our lives – are crazy-making times. They can be confusing and exhilarating; chaotic and creative. That certainly has been true of our conference life. That’s true of our congregational lives where all of us worship in “the church that has been” feeling anxious about “the church that will be.” And it’s true of our personal lives where change (those we make happen and those that happen to us) is the only constant.
But that is NOT the only constant. When everything else may seem up for grabs or in flux, one thing is not: God’s abiding light and love. “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me…”
This I know to be true. And it is my prayer for you and all our brothers and sisters in Christ that we move confidently into this New Year holding fast to that which has been good ready to receive what is going to be even better.
God bless your New Year with the Light of this Epiphany Season,
(Rev. William Worley, Conference Minister)