Bishop John H. Vincent said, "I will this day try to live a simple, sincere and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust and a child-like trust in God."
It's hard to believe as I write this, 2011 is history and seems to have just flown by. As I reflect on 2011, I wonder what the days of joy and celebration were and what days of concern and sadness will be remembered. I also wonder what days will not be remembered.
Joy was brought to many this year. For example, a person found out a family did not have any food in the house, she went to the store and showed up at the family's doorstep with many bags of food.
Joy happened when someone asked how she could help a family who had just had an accident. I said there wasn't any need of which I knew. This person knew better. She got out her snow shovel, and she and her family shoveled the sidewalk for the family who had just had an accident.
Joy happened when I saw the faces and looks of appreciation of the staff of Options as they visited "Jana's Closet" and knew some of the Christmas requests they had from their clients could be filled.
Sadness happened when tragedy happened in people's lives and when their hopes and dreams were changed. Sadness happened when people did not accept each other as the gift they are to one another even if that gift does not look exactly as we expect or desire. Sadness happened when we chose to focus on the things that divide us rather than on the one true gift that brings us together, Jesus Christ, our lord and savior.
One thing I know for sure is in the midst of the joy, in the midst of the sadness and, yes, even in the midst of the ordinary, Jesus was present at each and every time. Jesus was there to celebrate our living out the Gospel of sharing God's love, mercy and grace with each other and the world. Jesus was there in the midst of the sadness, providing strength and peace. Yes, especially in the ordinary, Jesus was there providing the promise of steadfast love.
I wonder what the days of 2012 will look like. I am pretty certain there will be times of joy, times of sadness and, yes, times of ordinary. I am, however, 100-percent certain no matter what happens during the day, God will be present and will provide the promised steadfast love.
God's blessings for the new year.
Lesley Radius is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church. Statements of Faith is a series sharing lessons from local church leaders and members. To submit a column for publication, contact the Hays Daily News at (785) 628-1081.