Different Year, Same Faith

Another year is behind us. The New Year is before us. Part of me wants to get involved in the usual vowing to live differently, make resolutions, and take the “new" part of New Year literally. Yet I wonder why we think we need to change? After all, God has gifted us with unique abilities and temperaments. If we really want change it can only be seated in our heart as we are willing to yield our thoughts and actions to God. We are not being asked to make ourselves change, but in yielding we will inevitably be changed.  

That’s the essence of Paul’s thoughts in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: “The old has gone, the new is here! When we look and yield (trust and obey) change is not the result of self-will, but rather the natural outcome of a heart of love – as a child wanting to please the parent. The change Paul points to is not a change brought on by religion, but arises instead out of a growing relationship in which we become increasingly aware of a God reveled in Jesus Christ. It is change not because we have to, but because we want to reflect the love we have received in all areas of our lives.  

Mr. Gandy opened our Chapel asking Upper School students to close their eyes and reflect on last year at this time. He asked them to identify any changes they have noticed since then in different aspects of their lives. WE are not the same today as we were yesterday, and when focused on Christ, each new day can become an adventure of faith and awe at how God is present.  

Each of us has a decision to make, regardless of whether we make New Year’s resolutions. Since change is assured, will we approach it as a way for us to do what we want? Or to seek what God wants? Will we adapt to changes imposed by others, or listen to the still small voice of God as he calls us to Christ-likeness?    

As we at UCA enter a New Year, we know there will be many changes on the horizon. May we all be attentive to God’s hand in our journey of faith. May we, know in the most difficult times God has not abandoned us. May we in the times of joy and good times, base our joy not in what we have done but in how God has blessed, guided and shaped us to walk in His way. May our year be one of praise and thankfulness for the blessings of God, and through this praise may we be able to reflect a year from now and say, “My, how God has changed us in so many ways.” 
Rev. J. Loring Carpenter, Interim Head of School