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Across the Pastor’s Desk: Have a new beginning each day

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose

A new year has begun, and many are in the process of making resolutions, or for some already revising resolutions, to take them into the new year. Such resolutions at the beginning of a new year suggest the possibilities of something new and different for the days ahead. Many see the new year as a time of new beginnings, a time to change poor habits and patterns of behaviors, a time to let go of the past and to be open for the new possibilities of the future. Unfortunately, the good intentions of new year’s resolutions are all too frequently very short-lived.

Don Rose

All too quickly individuals discover that despite their resolutions they soon lose the drive and commitment necessary to turn those resolutions into new patterns of every day life. Such lapses can frequently make the persons feel guilty at their failure and also to despair rather than hope.

These efforts point to the inability of human beings to bring about much change in their lives without some sort of external intervention. For believers there is the promise of God’s presence that can help them to attain beneficial changes not only for their own lives but for the greater good as well. For believers there is no need to wait for the beginning of a new year to expect new possibilities and directions for life.

The remembrance of baptism provides a new day for new beginnings for the people of God. Though baptism itself may be an act in the past, to remember it each day provides the new beginnings and a fresh late for which people long. The language of baptism is present tense as it marks a current reality and status within the life of God’s children. Each day a child of God walks refreshed and renewed by the promise of those baptismal waters. Each day is a new beginning for a child of God. Each day provides an opportunity to let go of the past and to have a fresh start. In the baptismal promise, each day is an opportunity to live into the vision and fullness of God.

Perhaps the best resolution at the start of this new year would be to simply remember daily that God’s love has been poured out upon the world in the Savior, Jesus the Christ, and in that gift people have a fresh beginning as a child of God’s kingdom each and every day. Martin Luther said that Christians should make the sign of the cross over themselves at least twice a day, in the morning and at night, as a reminder of who and whose they are. Now that is a resolution that would give life and new beginnings.

Don Rose is pastor of Mansfield and United Lutheran churches.