I thought I might begin this week’s reflection with, “Happy New Year.” But I have a deeper prayer for each of us. That the coming year will be full of joy, lessons learned, hope, hearts of compassion and empathy, and an ever-growing, closer relationship with Jesus.
I also pray that in the months ahead, which clearly will be difficult and painful for us all due to the pandemic, that we will allow ourselves time to ponder what is right and good in the midst of the heartache and upheaval. Through our tears for those suffering from the death of loved ones, unemployment, isolation, mental illness, addictions, and economic destitution, I believe there is room for giving thanks as well.
With this in mind, I’d like to share some things for which I am grateful. I give thanks…
- That when we say, “whoever you are, wherever you have been, or whatever you may have done in life, there is a place for you,” we mean it.
- For each of you who are part of the Snowmass Chapel family.
- That the Chapel is a place where our clear focus is on Jesus and that our mission is love: love of God, others, and ourselves.
- That we take Jesus’ words seriously – that the purpose of life, our existence and eternity is love as God is love.
- That we are a place of diverse views and opinions on all kinds of things, yet we come together with our common love of God.
- For all of you who make the ministries of the Chapel possible with gifts small and large of time and financial support.
- For our leaders, our board members, those who volunteer, our staff and our magnificent grounds.
- For a board that supports new initiatives and ways of reaching people with the love of Jesus even when it may not make perfect sense or be practical.
- That we support essential non-profit organizations whose service we cannot mimic.
- For all of those who care, through Stephen Ministry, making calls and meals, prayer, and selfless actions.
- That we are a place that knows we cannot do things perfectly and that is ok.
- That we understand forgiveness is at the heart of our faith and relationship with Jesus and each other.
- That unlike some churches and denominations, women can serve in any position and we care about the integrity and commitment of loving relationships, not the form they take.
- That change is not only viewed as ok, but necessary for us to be faithful.
- For the incredible creativity and willingness to pivot in every conceivable way in order to reach people during a time in which everything has been turned upside down.
- For the opportunity to serve as your Senior Pastor despite my imperfections, faux pas, and mistakes.
- That we have strong interfaith and interdenominational relationships up and down the valley.
- That we know we need to embrace further change in everything we do in this new age of continual lack of certainty.
- For each of you over these last 11 ½ years who have taught me every day what it means to be a minister.
- For the gratitude you express to each other and our staff.
- For your love, care and commitment to the people of Snowmass Village and the Valley regardless of whether or not they are people of faith.
- For our commitment, however imperfect, to excellence in worship and all we do.
- That we are a place of continuing, ongoing, and deep prayer.
- For our commitment to children, youth, and families.
- That we are a place that embraces humor, laughter, and fun.
- That we generally don’t take ourselves too seriously because we take God seriously.
I have much more on my mind for which I am grateful. Please know how much I treasure each of you. I am incredibly thankful to be among you, learn what it means to follow Jesus with you, and for our call to share Jesus and his love and forgiveness with a hurting world. Blessings and prayer for this New Year.