On the first Sunday of the year, I said that 2014 had been a difficult year but that 2015 would be better. I was merely saying what I have been hearing and seeing since November. As we celebrated Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas, we seemed to gather ourselves toward the future. There is a growing sense that 2015 will be a better year.
After the service, Allyn McCune shook my hand and said that difficult times for the congregation were not limited to 2014. “We have had many polishing years,” he said: “We are a well-polished congregation.”
To say merely that next year will be better fails to capture the truth Allyn helps us to see. There is a feeling in the congregation not only of relief but also of readiness.
2015 is time to shine!
It is time to shine up the church. Our lovely building could use a bit of polishing. Very much like we clean up our homes so that they sparkle when special guests visit, we need to look at how our building reflects our desire to welcome guests with warmth and hospitality.
It is time to shine out of the church. Our members are hungry for local mission experiences that dignify the lives of others. Mission is our purpose: it unites us together, renews our faith, and inspires our worship.
It is time to shine on as a church. We often equate stewardship with an end-of-the year pledge drive, but stewardship is a spiritual discipline that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Stewardship is the practice of grateful living, saying thank-you, celebrating successes, and diversifying giving.
I look forward to the year to come, trusting that God has polished us to shine in 2015.