A New Year, A New Heart

The Psalmist cries: "Create in me a clean heart, O God." It is the cry of milennia of humans seeking to renew their lives and their faith. It is the cry of David when he has sinned. It is the cry of the Israelite nation in the deserts of the Exodus. It is the agony of Peter when he has betrayed Jesus. It is our cry, too.

Each new year brings new hope. It calls us to the renewal of faith and the refreshing of our hopes and dreams. From the recollection of a youthful body able to run all day which calls me to lose weight and get in shape, to the heartfelt call on my life to make my last years count for more in God's service than previous decades: I feel the call to renew. I, just like you, need renewal. I need new commitment. I need my faith refreshed. I need to do more and do it better.

So, my pledge to God this year is to try and do better.

As I approach the "three score and ten" allotted to us all, I am increasingly aware of the hurts and needs of our community and our world. I am also increasingly aware of the evil which causes the half-hidden sins of racism and class, as well as the open sins of terrorism and all forms of bitter dogmatism which divide us. I am aware that our world is terribly divided by the increasing gap between poor and rich. I am aware that the earth, itself, is suffering by our lack of stewardship toward it. I am aware....

All these obstacles to healing and wholeness for us are overwhelming, when viewed in macrocosm. No person can heal all this. How can I make a difference for God in this new decade of the twenty-first century?

All I can do is approach the microcosm in which I am planted. This little place I have been given to tend is tiny, but it is what I have been given. If I am a good steward here, and if I am confident that others are tending their small microcosmic fields, then I can find the courage to tend mine faithfully.

So, my resolve this decade is simple. I will try to blossom in the soil in which I have been planted. I may not produce a great crop for God's kingdom, but each tiny blossom is vital to a waving field of flowers. My small work is what I have been given. May I find the strength to grow as God gives me guidance.

Curtis Rivers


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