Listen to hear the lesson

Published 7:39 am Monday, January 6, 2020

Back in what seems like another life, I worked as a sports writer for the morning newspaper in Greenville, South Carolina. One of the most onerous tasks of that profession came at this time of year: writing a ‘Year in Review’ article about the areas we covered.

I guess there was some good in looking back over a year and reminding people what happened. But it was boring writing; just retelling what had already happened instead of getting out there to talk about what was going on now.

It might be a good exercise for you to take look back and remember all that went on in 2019. But we are now in a new year, and a new decade. Will these be another Roaring 20s or the Boring 20s?

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Any time a new year comes around there are all these people telling us to make resolutions, to make a list of things you want to do. I have found that to be about as exciting as writing a year-end review. I mean, who knows what is going to happen to you, to me, to us, that will take all of those resolutions and make them dust in the wind?

Maybe rather than making resolutions that will come and go and leave us frustrated when we don’t lose the weight, when we lose our tempers or when we don’t create a means for world peace is that we can tap into being open to the new thing that is happening to us. Sure, it’s an Election Year, and perhaps one of the commitments we can make this year is – in spite of everything we will see and hear – to be civil with one another. To give each other the benefit of the doubt. To remember that each of us is made in the image of God, each us is a child of God. Everything and everyone belongs. We all have lessons to teach each other, and we all have ways that we can help each other grow.

Maybe rather than always dividing up into sides we can affirm that maybe, in God’s grace, there is no either/or; there is always both/and. We will be a Pharisee who is a little too self-righteous and a tax collector who humbles themselves; we will be a sheep who feeds and nurtures the marginalized, and we will be a goat who ignores them. We will be a conservative, who wants to hang on to things the way they have always been; we will be a liberal who wants to be open to new things and new people. We are all of that, because God has made all of that in us.

So this year, rather than dividing up into sides, look for ways that God is speaking to you through people you might want to dismiss. It might be that they have the most powerful message you need to hear this year – and this decade.

Rev. Dr. Tom Robinson is pastor of Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at