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United Church of Christ

533 Route 28, Harwich Port, MA 02646 | Phone: 508-432-1668

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Waves of Faith-January 5, 2018

Many people make resolutions in the New Year and they resolve to become a better person. They set fitness goals, or personal challenges. But very few people consider what they will need spiritually to be fulfilled in the New Year. So I want to extend the quest for new resolutions to your spiritual journey. I think when we find peace and happiness spiritually we are more likely to fulfill our resolutions in other areas of our lives.  Our health, our family, our ambitions all fall into place when we have put our spiritual focus at the top of the list.  

Last week in worship I challenged you to consider what a Spiritual New Year would look like. In my sermon I asked you to consider three questions. 

  1. What do you long for? 
  2. What big hopes will stretch you? 
  3. What can you do to pursue your dreams? 

Before the sermon began the ushers handed out a sheet of paper with these questions listed on them so that you could make some notes to reflect on over the coming weeks of January. If you were at the service on New Year’s Eve I hope you will continue to think about your spiritual resolutions, but I want to widen the invitation and challenge everyone who reads this Waves of Faith message to ponder these questions. 

By way of encouragement I have a story from the blog of Joan Chittister, well known Benedictine writer, feminist and sage.  Her blog this week speaks to our determination to make spiritual resolutions for this new year  2018.  

My gift to you is always a story; something to think about more than once; something to keep your mind alive and touch your soul so that you can see life fresh and leaping once again.

There is a story from the Desert Fathers and Mothers about a young monk who asked one of the holy men of the desert why it is that so many people came out to the desert to seek God and yet most of them gave up after a short time and returned to their lives in the city.

The old monk responded:

“Last evening my dog saw a rabbit running for cover among the bushes of the desert and he began to chase the rabbit, barking loudly. Soon other dogs joined the chase, barking and running. They ran a great distance and alerted many other dogs. Soon the wilderness was echoing the sounds of their pursuit but the chase went on into the night.

After a little while, many of the dogs grew tired and dropped out. A few chased the rabbit until the night was nearly spent. By morning, only my dog continued the hunt.”

“Do you understand,” the old man said, “what I have told you?”

“No,” replied the young monk, “I don’t. Please help me with it.”

“It is simple,” said the desert father. “My dog saw the rabbit!"

The gift? A reminder to keep our souls focused on the important dimensions of life, on the purpose for which we have been born, on the gifts we are meant to give to others as life goes by. Otherwise we simply drift through life: one minute attracted by this; at another moment confused about what we’re doing. Over the long haul, then, we become pilgrims without purpose, looking for what can’t be found.

New Year’s blessings, 

Rev. Susan

Posted: Friday January 5, 2018

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