The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.-Rafiki, The Lion King [video clip linked here]
I don’t know about you, but as the clock struck midnight, signaling the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, my heart was full of relief. I was glad the rollercoaster (that’s what I’m calling 2021) was officially over. Rollercoaster earned its name because of the emotional back and forth we were on with the pandemic, starting the year excited about new vaccines, then stressing over where we would fall in the line to receive them. Then a glimpse of hope as more and more options and appointments rolled out. Then the tease of comfort we felt as COVID numbers plummeted, only to be taken away as Delta surged. Then as Delta waned and we began to plan a more “normal” kind of holiday season, Omicron came bursting through those plans like the Kool-Aid Man through a brick wall.
Yes, I was glad to see 2021 go. Vulnerable as it feels, I must admit that in the early hours of the New Year, there was hope for 2022.
During the first week of 2022, I came across this article published by Prepare-Enrich (an organization specializing in marital relationships). It’s about resilience and it seemed like even though it was meant for couples and couples’ therapy, the points would also resonate with us, the church. After all, the church is sometimes called the “Bride of Christ.” Perhaps more importantly than a name, the church is characterized by holy relationship. We are people who have made a spiritual commitment before God and one another to follow Jesus as disciples of Christ and to live our lives in communion (community) with one another. As do all relationships, these (the relationships we have with our church and at our church) need to be nurtured.
Thinking about my own covenant with you, as your pastor, I found the prompts from the Prepare-Enrich article to be incredibly helpful as I continue to lead, with God’s help, this beloved community of Jesus followers. It is my hope that by sharing my reflections with you in a series of blog posts, that you too might consider your own responses.
- What were your biggest challenges and struggles?
- In what areas did you thrive? What do you consider your successes?
- What were your favorite memories?
- In thinking about your relationship with this church, your church family, what did you most appreciate?
- What do you want to leave behind as you start a new year? What do you want to bring with you?
As we embark on this journey of reflection together, my prayer is that we might be able to recognize the ways that God has been faithful to us, even in these recent, challenging times. Perhaps together, we might learn from – and not run from – our past.
Download a copy of the worksheet to join Pastor Chrissy in this journey of reflection as we continue into the new year. You can either type in the document or print it out to handwrite your responses.