I posted this on Facebook on New Year’s Day:
For the year to come, I pray for the wisdom that will enable me to be an active participant in bringing about the Peace on Earth we all long for. Wishing won’t get us there but prayer and active participation in God’s work will.
If I pray for more love in the world and then do not love God, my neighbor, and my enemy, my prayer is not sincere. If I pray for more unity and peace and then exclude others, my prayer is not sincere. If I pray for change and refuse change myself, my prayer is not sincere.
I pray we all come to know more deeply that we are beloved children of God, invited to walk the Way of Love with Jesus, participating in the answer to our prayer “your will be done on earth as in heaven.”
In part, it’s a response to all of the posts wishing everyone peace and happiness in the coming year. I want the same for everyone as well, for sure, but I also believe that passive wishes are ineffective, even if we label them prayers. Jesus didn’t teach us to pray to make us feel better; he taught us to pray so that, in conversation with God, we are changed and transformed into who God calls us to be: beloved children, heirs of God’s kingdom, participating with God to make it on earth now as it already is in heaven.
There have been countless debates in our theological history with much ink and blood spilled over “works” or “faith” being most important. But it isn’t either/or. It’s both/and. We pray for God’s will to be done and then we listen for what is ours to do to bring it about with God’s help. God chooses to work in and through us, his beloved, to bring about his purposes. And I hope that thought brings you as much joy and excitement as it does me!! God chooses US! He CHOSE us long before he even created us, before he put the stars and planets in their courses, before he created all that is. God chose us knowing we’d misuse the great gift of free-will. God gave us free-will so that we could have the option to choose him back because love is a choice.
When we focus only on works, our tendency is to give ourselves the credit for the good in the world. When we focus only on faith, we tend to use God as the scapegoat for the bad in this world. But when we seek an active relationship with God as we follow Jesus, our faith informs our works and our works deepen our faith.
God’s peace be with all y’all in this year to come as we work together with God to bring about the Kingdom.