A Message from Pastor Vern
Of all the things to think about as we approach the new year, roads are taking up a considerable amount of my headspace. For several weeks, I’ve been enjoying my Christmas Spotify playlist which includes a carol about roads, the infamous “over the river and through the woods.” TV commercials are flooded with “end of year” car sale commercials and Chevrolet must be on a mission to try and flip me from being a proud Ford driver because it seems like every time a show goes to commercial, I hear the “find new roads” Chevrolet catch phrase.
Mandy and I traveled several roads on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy Christmas celebrations with her family over the weekend. We will travel several more roads this week. On Thursday, we’ll travel to Charlotte for a bowl game of the “Carolinas” (Of course, to pull for the Carolina of the garnet and black persuasion). And this coming weekend, we’ll travel roads to South Carolina for Christmas celebrations with my family.
While putting some miles on my tires this week, I’ve thought about the transition of a dawning new year this weekend, about roads, and how it ties in nicely with another transition that is soon taking place in the story of the church year. This Sunday (Jan. 2) is still considered the season of Christmas; however, right on its heels is the season of Epiphany. Maybe some of you who have nativity scenes in your homes almost ceremoniously move the wise men into the scene for the season of Epiphany. A quick side note: if that is a part of the tradition in your home, kudos to you! The wise men were not present at the manger that first Christmas night!
The story of the wise men does include something about roads in it. Not only did they travel afar to see Jesus, but after witnessing this wondrous child, “They returned to their homes by a new (or different) road.” Thinking about this verse and thinking about the new year that is quickly approaching, I’ve thought about the new year in a new or different way this time around. Rather than coming up with goals that I may or may not accomplish, I’m asking myself, what new or different roads will 2022 present for me to travel down? What new adventures can I embark on? What opportunities will be revealed in this dawning new year?
I offer those same questions for you and for us to think about as a congregation, as people of God in the dawning new year. What new opportunities will 2022 present for St. Mark’s? What new roads can we travel together? Who can we meet along the way? What adventures in ministry will we have the ability to participate in together? As we travel these new or different roads, may we also, like the wise men, carry with us the good news of the Savior with us.
Friends in Christ, I wish you all a Happy New Year! If you are traveling this weekend, may your travels be safe and you return home filled with joy.
May God bless us as we venture on together down new and different roads as St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in 2022!
The Peace of Christ be with y’all!
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Pastor Dave Keck