A New Year – A Time to Bless and to Heal

A year’s ending gives us a peculiar vantage point. We look back on the events, people and circumstances we’ve encountered. There have been moments of joy, others of sorrow. Some came as the bitter sweet irony of both. We have had times to savor and celebrate. There have been losses which caused our hearts to bleed. People who have been precious to us are deeply missed. There were times we acted on our best impulses and our highest motives. To our regret, there were other times when were less than we wanted to be.

A year’s turning gives us opportunity to rethink where we have been and how we want to live our lives in the future. Howard Thurman’s writes in his book of essays and prayers, “The Centering Moment,” “We anticipate tomorrow, not because it is our promise and our due, but because there is within us a deep yearning for the fulfillment of that which we have not known before, for the opportunity to be what, if we have another chance, we think we may become. Brood over us as we stand on the threshold. . . Make tender our spirits that we may not through any callousness of mind or hardness of heart, hurt and maim and injure where we could bless and cure and heal. Leave us not alone to the independence of our minds or to the hardness of our hearts and spirits, but surround us with Thy caring, that what we do will be what we mean and what we say will be inspired by the integrity of the intent.”

May this New Year, truly be that for you. A NEW YEAR. May it be an opportunity to start fresh.   For we have been to Christmas. We have seen the star. We have heard the angels singing. We have knelt at the manger. It has been given to us to know that the light of Christ is in our world and darkness has not and cannot overcome it.

May your New Year be blessed with the deep assurance that Christ’s light will be with you throughout this year.

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”   II Corinthians 5:17

God Moments – Sometimes There is a Hole in the Ceiling

IMG_6908Barry L. Johnson was a junior in college when his short story professor put a title on the black board and instructed the students to write a story to fit it. The title was “Sometimes, There’s a Hole in the Ceiling.” The story was a real challenge for Barry – it took numerous drafts and different ideas before he finally came up with a story that he was satisfied with. He wrote about a ghetto family who was surprised by help from an unexpected source. He closed his story with these words, “Sometimes, There’s a hole in the ceiling; it was made for the hand of God.” Every now and then the story would come back to him. As the words trickled into his mind, it made sense of some mystical moment, when the unexplainable happened. There would be an insight, light or wisdom that plopped into his mind. A series of unexpected events solved a problem he’d been agonizing over. Then, the words would come to him again “Sometimes there’s a hole in the ceiling – it was made for the hand of God.” (Sometimes there’s a hole in the ceiling – 1975 by Barry Lee Johnson)

When I first read that story, I thought of moments, more spiritual than physical. Moments of God’s presence where one is touched in such a way, that there is an assurance that God is near . . . when you just know, not only that God is close, but you are being loved in a special way. I think of ideas that have slipped into my mind when I have been perplexed – struggling to find a solution. Then suddenly, the answer simply is there. They are God moments, because there can be no other way to explain a series of coincidences and decisions made which are exactly right at a given moment in time.

But, I think a person has to be ready to recognize those God moments. One has to see outside the spectrum and vision one usually views the world through. How else does a person describe meeting a friend at a place neither of you could have expected to meet the other, but doing so on a day, you really needed a person to talk to? Or the set of coincidences that puts you where it was crucial for you to be? The thoughts that allow you to think differently of a person – so you see with compassion instead of frustration.

Sometimes, comes a moment clarity. There is a Hole in the ceiling, made for the hand of God. A hand that touches us and in that touch we know we are loved by God.

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”  II Corinthians 5:17