The first month of this new year is already half past. Have you already forgotten any goals you might have set for yourself? If you haven’t and you’re still going strong, “Great job.” If you have already forgotten or let them go, “It’s okay; we can start again.” Ours is a God of new beginnings, one who says, “See, I’m doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19).
Having just celebrated together in worship Jesus’ baptism, we can see clearly that God calls us to new beginnings. And wherever we see water, we can be reminded and thankful that God doesn’t command us to be made new: God promises to make us new, to give us new life in Jesus, and to draw us from our present state further into the likeness of God. Yet, the thing about this promise is that it invites our participation. God calls. How will we answer?
In the 18th Century, John Wesley began the movement of Methodism with a focus on how we respond to God’s freely given gift of saving and perfecting grace. At its core, being particularly United Methodist Christians is about receiving in faith and responding in action to God’s ever-present grace. We United Methodists link faith and action. You can see this in the language of “A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition” (UM Hymnal, 607).
I am no longer my own, but thine…Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee…I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal…thou art mine and I am thine. So be it.
A Covenant Prayer
in the Wesleyan Tradition
So, as we begin this new year, God calls us again into a renewed covenant. It’s our promise to grow in discipleship in response to God’s grace. As individuals, as churches, and as a Parish, God calls us to receive God’s grace, and through it, grow in the knowledge and love of God. Such a response is a commitment to worship, learn, and serve in community with others. Such a response is our calling and our vision, that we and the world might be transformed.