A Fresh Start...
As we look forward to another season of the Nativity, we are reminded of the fresh start that we receive as a gift from our good and gracious Lord. In the simple setting of a stable, our Lord started the process of our redemption. It was a fresh start. The fresh start of a new life. The new life that came into the world to grant us a new, fresh start. Free from all the sin, stain and sorrow or our old life.
That is what the Nativity is for you and for me. And that is what we are doing for the next year here at Zion. With the arrival of Advent and a new Church year, we are going to take a fresh start from our pulpit. Did you know that the lessons which are read in worship are not picked randomly by the pastor? We follow what is called a Lectionary. Over a three year schedule, the lessons, Psalms, Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel, are pre-planned. Each year is planned around readings from one of the first three Gospels. This Church Year, which runs from Advent through the Sunday before next Thanksgiving is called Year A. This next year, all the Gospel lessons will be selected from the Gospel of Matthew. And as part of our fresh start, I am going to make a commitment to preach almost exclusively from the Gospel of Matthew. This is a fresh start for all of us, for there are some difficult texts for us to deal with in the Gospel of Matthew. In this fresh start, we will be fed and filled, challenged and comforted, stretched and strengthened in our relationship with the Lord. That is purpose and goal of this fresh start.
I would encourage you to seize this fresh start along with us. Make a daily habit of getting into the Word of God, especially the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Time with the Word of God is never wasted. In the process, you will run into names you can't pronounce, places you have never heard of and stories you may or may not remember. Don't let that discourage you. Let it stretch you. If the Lord leads you to questions, bring them to me. Call me. E-mail me. Stop me on the street. For these questions are all part the fresh start.
And this fresh start will lead us to one place. JESUS! The Jesus who was born in a stable in Bethlehem. The Jesus who was protected by Joseph. The Jesus who grew up in Nazareth. The Jesus who set His face toward Jerusalem. The Jesus who went all the way to the cross. There on that cross He died a death that we deserved only to rise on that glorious Easter morning! The fresh start will take us on a new yet familiar journey.
It is never too late. If you are new to the faith, it is time to take this fresh start to know Jesus as Matthew shows Him to us. If you have spent a lifetime in the Church, look at this fresh start as another opportunity to hear again the Old, Old Story of Jesus and His love. Either way, this fresh start is going to be a blessing to you! Time with God and His Word is always a blessing! Even when it makes you uncomfortable
It is time for a fresh start. A Fresh start with Christmas. A fresh start with St. Matthew. A fresh start that leads us to the REAL fresh start the Jesus gives to each of us! I look forward to leading you on this journey. May God bless us as we go with Him!