God & Me; my musings of spirituality, music, and life from a progressive Christian UCC pastor..
God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Spend the Year with Matthew
At the end of the year and the beginning of a new year, we take time to stop and reflect on where we have been and where we are going. In the church calendar, we enter a season of Epiphany: a time where we reflect on the light of the world stepping down into the darkness. Jesus moves from being a child to being a man who experiences God’s touch in baptism, takes time away in retreat (temptation in the wilderness) in order to get ready for ministry. When he has dealt with all of the challenges to following God, Jesus begins his ministry by saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).” At that point, Jesus begins collecting people, he invites the first disciples to follow him and begins to experience crowds who want teaching and healing from him. Epiphany is when we take time to be inspired yet again to walk with Jesus into the light of the Kingdom of Heaven.
This year when we turn to a gospel, our church follows the Gospel of Matthew. We use Matthew as the guide for how we tell Jesus’ story. In Matthew’s Gospel, we are assured from beginning to end that Jesus is Emmanuel – God-with-us. Why not make 2011 a year spent with the Gospel of Matthew. Take an afternoon and sit down and read the gospel from chapter 1 the origins of Jesus, the son of David, the son of Abraham to chapter 28 where Jesus promises to be with us forever and asks us to go and make disciples. And in between those points Jesus teaches and heals, is rejected by opponents, heads toward Jerusalem, gives his final teachings in the temple, and is tried, executed, and begins life anew. The story shows us how to live as disciples.
After you have read it through and have a feel for the story, take a chapter a week to spend time with the Jesus. Begin to read Matthew prayerfully and slowly, and Matthew will begin to speak to you this year. So when you are making your New Year’s resolution, commit to listening to the Gospel of Matthew and waiting for God to lead us on a journey of change, renewal, and growth.