We welcome a new year very much different from where we were ten years ago. In January 2001 "google" was not yet a verb and the horrors of 9/11 and two wars in unequal retribution had not yet happened. We were full of hope at beginning of a new decade and a new millennium. Much has changed as we face the next decade of this new millennium. Gone for many is that sense of buoyancy, the faith in our ability to change the world for the better, even the security of our homes and investments, if we were lucky enough to have them. In its place is an all too familiar litany of woe: unemployment well over ten percent, a post terrorist world that makes us fearful to travel, a new sense of frugality born out of disaster, world hunger and violence as real as ever and a planet that is growing ever warmer.
It would be easy to look at this new world and decide to hunker down into a bunker of self interest. It would be easy to say, "I will look out for me and mine and forget the rest of the world". It would be easy and it would be wrong. Because we do not believe in some afterlife that will save us, we are compelled to do all we can about the life we still have before us. This is the heart of our liberal faith: we can make a difference, however small.
In years past I would spend the waning days of the year's calender resolving to make my own life better next year. Diets, financial stability, more time for relationships. Somehow those resolutions seem trite to me now; more like common sense than something worth resolving to do. My resolutions this year are more relevant to this new world we face. I resolve to give ten percent of my income to helping others, including my faith. I resolve to work more forcefully for interfaith and international understanding. I resolve to give voice to the plight of those marginalized by our society. These are my resolutions this new year. They are impossibly large and hard to measure but they are brave. What are yours?
With Grace and Grit, John