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‘Thanks be to God!’


With rolled-up sleeves and new visions, churches are taking on the new thing God has for them

January 1, 2023

Photo credit: Casey Horner via Unsplash

“Who are humans that you are mindful of them,” the psalmist asks of the Almighty. “Mortals that you care for them?”

It’s something to think about this New Year’s Day. I too wonder why God continues to cast God’s lot with us, and with me personally. Of late, with wars and climate change and gun violence, we haven’t given God much to be excited about.

But flipping the calendar ahead a year this morning can remind us what Isaiah pointed out long ago: God was then and is now about to do a new thing, and it’s our job both to perceive it and help make it happen.

The new things are big and small, innovative and mundane. Churches have learned online and in person ways to reach and to minister to both members and friends. While it makes some Presbyterians nervous, the world altered by the pandemic and its aftermath means we are more and more the missional church, finding our work outside our walls and in the community where we’re situated.

There’s no going back. Churches and mid councils across the country are seizing opportunities to meet people where they’re at and taking on challenges and inequities they might not have dared to three years ago. For that, I can only add what we say in church every time Scripture is read: “Thanks be to God!”

Mike Ferguson, Editor, Presbyterian News Service

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 1, 2023, the First Sunday after Christmas (Year A)

Today’s Focus: New Year’s Day

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Eliza Minasyan, Coordinator, Jinishian Memorial Program, World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Rosa Miranda, Associate, Hispanic/Latino-a Intercultural Congregational Support, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Let us pray

Gracious God, thank you for the dawn of a new year as we seek to build your kin-dom and stand with our siblings while they, too, face whatever 2023 brings their way. Thank you for your faithful presence, even when it seems it’s the only thing we can count on. Amen.

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