Reflections to start the week
Monday, December 30, 2013
You say you want a resolution…
A long, boring stretch of the interstate, family and dogs asleep in the car during Christmas season travel provided time for reflection on impending New Year’s resolutions. As a way of postponing any resolution I might actually decide to make, I got to thinking about the word itself, realizing its varied meanings. When I arrived home, I looked up the definition in the dictionary. In the column to left, you’ll find just a few of the entries. The word is rich indeed, loaded with implications for the spiritual journey.
Resolution: a matter of intention or firm determination.
I’m wondering what you hope for in the coming year in terms of your own spiritual growth. Take this day, the 30th of December, to set some spiritual intention for the coming year. Perhaps even make a firm determination for the spiritual journey. Many people at this time of year decide on a program of physical exercise. Run 3 miles a day. No more french fries. What would a program of spiritual exercise look like? Maybe it’s as simple as deciding to start each day by naming five things for which you are grateful. Maybe it’s establishing a daily rhythm of reflection, quiet time or solitude. Maybe it’s remembering that each day is a gift, that once that day has passed, we’ll never receive that particular gift again, and that we should live each day of 2014 to the fullest.
Resolution: a matter of clarity or fineness of detail
I’m wondering where you wish for greater clarity, greater vision in your spiritual life. What is the spiritual counterpart of higher resolution, as in a television or photograph or scan. Take some time before 2014 begins to think about where the path forward seems foggy or dark or out of focus. What in the past have been the resources that brought clarity when you had a hard time seeing what lies ahead? Were there people in your life who have been your guides? Make it a point to thank them, and call on them again if needed. Perhaps God has sent writers, current or from another era, whose insights helped you navigate? Maybe the prayerful reflection on scripture has brought that kind of clarity, as in the psalmist’s comparison of God’s word to a lantern upon the path. If you’re facing the fog, offer a prayer that clarity will come in the coming year.
Resolution: a matter of movement towards healing and harmony
I’m wondering where in your life you seek this kind of resolution, which is comparable to a move in music from dissonance to harmony. Where is there brokenness of body, mind, spirit, relationship, memory? Where can spiritual and/or relational discord be resolved? How in the coming year can you practice more forgiveness? Where do you need to ask for it? Can you move from resentment to resolution? It is indeed a practice, i.e., we get better at it the more we do it. It calls for daily, maybe hourly practice. Resolve to let go and let God provide the strength to resolve differences and injuries that have you in their grip. Like most holy work, it can only happen through a power greater than ourselves. Pray each day for more love in your heart, as one of my spiritual advisors describes it.
If you’re looking for some help in the resolution department, reflect on the reading from St. Paul that is given below. It’s been chosen for the Feast of the Holy Name, January 1. It challenges the reader to have the mind of Christ. Not a bad resolution, if you ask me. How would all of our lives be different if we each resolved in the coming year to have the mind of Christ?
| Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Rev. Jay Sidebotham
RenewalWorks is a ministry of Forward Movement.