New Year Priorities

January 1, 2017

Summary

Robin McGonigle
University Congregational Church
Jan. 1, 2017

“New Year Priorities”
Matt. 5:1-10

The poet writes:
Another year, another chance
To start our lives anew;
This time we’ll leap old barriers
And have a real breakthrough.

We’ll take one little step
And then we’ll take one more,
Our unlimited potential
We’ll totally explore.

We’ll show off all our talents
Everyone will be inspired;
We’ll give up all bad habits;
Whew! While writing this, I’m getting very tired!
– Joanna Fuchs

Here it is: the 1st day of the year. How many of you are still keeping your New Year’s Resolutions? I’m joking, of course, but it seems to be true that many of us make resolutions and they fall by the wayside just as quickly.

But what would happen if I were to follow you with a camera crew 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first 100 days of 2011? I’ll bet that one of three things would happen:
1. You would START doing the things you say you need to do.
2. You would STOP doing the things you know you shouldn’t do.
3. You would MAKE MONUMENTAL GAINS and really change your life.
Don’t worry. As much as the idea of me following you around upsets you, it frightens me!

Most people make resolutions about weight / health challenges. And those are worthwhile resolutions. But in the interest of personal growth and feeling more connected to the world around you spiritually, I would suggest you adopt some other resolutions in the New Year, too. I want to challenge all of us to think about the beatitudes in terms of New Year’s resolutions – to choose to act as Jesus suggested.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:1-10 New Revised Standard Version

I’ll break the ideas into categories:
Health & Wellness
Interpersonal & Social
Intellectual & Professional
Community & Charitable
Spiritual & Emotional
Financial
In your bulletins, there is room to make notes as we go along. These are for you personally – there will be no camera or person looking over your shoulder and you will not be asked to turn them in to anyone.

I’d like you to consider something for each category.

Health & Wellness ~ Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Let’s brainstorm resolutions for this category:
• Loose or gain weight
• Eat healthier
• Exercise daily

Okay, it’s time to write your personal goal for this category.

The next category is Interpersonal & Social ~ Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. Let’s brainstorm resolutions for this category:
• Deepen your relationships, partnership, marriage
• Develop new friends
• Help someone else meet their dreams
• Spend more time with family

Take time now to write your goal for this section.

The next category is Intellectual & Professional~ Jesus said, “Blessed are those who the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” Let’s brainstorm resolutions for this category:
• Take a class or seminar on a topic that interests you
• Keep a cleaner desk at work or home
• Start a new project
• Read more

Take time now to write your goal for this section.

The next category is Community and Charitable ~ Jesus said, “Blessed are merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Let’s brainstorm resolutions for this category:
• Support the arts by attending concerts, plays, museums, exhibits
• Increase your pledge of time, energy, talent, or money to the church
• Volunteer at a non-profit

Take time now to write your goal for this section.

The next category is Spiritual & Emotional~ Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Let’s brainstorm resolutions for this category:
• Work on an emotional difficulty with a therapist
• Develop a new spiritual practice – meditation, yoga, Bible study, devotions, prayer, journaling
• Participate in a new ministry – lead a study, join a spirit team, take the lead of a small group

Take time now to write your goal for this section.

The next category is Financial ~ Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Let’s brainstorm resolutions for this category:
• Save more
• Give more away
• Start a retirement fund
• Adopt a budget

Take time now to write your goal for this section.

Next, I want you to choose from the goals you’ve written the 2 or 3 you feel are most important. Cross out the others. You cannot do everything – so be realistic and decide what you most want/ need to resolve.

And there are two homework assignments:
1. Add specificity to your goals. How much are you going to save? How often are you going to exercise? How many volunteer hours are you going to give?
2. Add accountability to your goals. Ask a friend or family member to check up on your progress. Place your goals in a place you will see them often – frame them or put them on your mirror. Hang them from your rearview mirror or place them on your newly de-cluttered desk. Write your completion dates on your calendar.

As Christians, we believe in new beginnings. We believe in forgiveness for the past and hope for the future. Let’s put this new beginning to use for a more well-rounded, complete and positive future!


2017 NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION FOR ALL: NO LONGER WAITING

I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION;
I BURN THE BEST CANDLES ON ORDINARY DAYS.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR THE HOUSE TO BE CLEAN;
I FILL IT WITH PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THAT EVEN DUST IS SACRED.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR EVERYONE TO UNDERSTAND ME;
IT’S JUST NO THEIR TASK
I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR THE PERFECT CHILDREN;
MY CHILDREN HAVE THEIR OWN NAMES THAT BURN AS BRIGHTLY AS ANY STAR.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP;
IT ALREADY DID, AND I SURVIVED.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR THE TIME TO BE RIGHT;
THE TIME IS ALWAYS NOW.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR THE MATE WHO WILL COMPLETE ME;
I AM GRATEFUL TO BE SO WARMLY, TENDERLY HELD.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR A QUIET MOMENT;
MY HEART CAN BE STILLED WHENEVER IT IS CALLED.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING TO DO SOMETHING GREAT;
BEING AWAKE TO CARRY MY GRAIN OF SAND IS ENOUGH.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED;
I KNOW THAT I DANCE IN A HOLY CIRCLE.
I AM NO LONGER WAITING FOR FORGIVENESS.
I BELIEVE, I BELIEVE.
Mary Anne Perrone

UA-64457033-1