Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year’s resolutions: A reflection for January 2014 from the Older Adult Ministry

Connecting Generations, 200 x 154
“Change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24 CEB).

As 2013 came to a close, articles about resolving to make life changes popped up in newspapers and magazines and on TV and Facebook. Everywhere, people were pledging to either give up bad habits or adopt new, healthier ones as the new year rolled in.

Recently, my husband and I were blessed to attend a year-end communion service with his 97 year-old mother at her retirement community. The deacon serving communion reflected that it may be easier to stop a negative behavior than to take on a new, positive one. I don't know if that is true, but it does seem like change, any change, is hard for people, which may be why various studies show that New Year's resolutions are more often broken than they are kept.

That's not to say that we shouldn't think about ways we might improve how we live our lives. But perhaps we should do that on a regular basis rather than try to change everything in one fell swoop.

As to whether we should focus on what we should be doing or what we shouldn't, maybe it’s not a question of "either/or" but rather a matter of "both/and." After all, Scripture provides guidance on both: "Blessed are those who..." (Mt 5:3-11) and "Thou shall not..." (Ex 20:1-17).

Perhaps we would do well to read and reflect on these passages now and throughout 2014 as we seek to live out our lives in the footsteps of Jesus.

Prayer: Renewing God, we are thankful for all the promise that a new year holds. We ask that you be with us as we study your Word and strive to live according to the example of the One whose birth and life we celebrate and seek to emulate, Jesus the Christ. Amen

To ponder and discuss:
  1. As you begin the new year, read and reflect on the words of the hymn, "This is a day of new beginnings" (#640 in Hymnal: A Worship Book, Brethren Press, 1992).
  2. Is it easier for you to stop a bad habit or begin a new, positive behavior?
  3. As you reflect on your life, what do you want to change? How might you go about making those life changes a reality?
Suggested reading:

Moment to Moment: The Transformative Power of Everyday Life by Amy Sander Montanez. Morehouse Publishing, 2013.

A Season of Mystery: 10 Spiritual Practices for Embracing a Happier Second Half of Life by Paula Huston. Loyola Press, 2012.

The Older Adult Ministry envisions a church that intentionally affirms the gift of aging, and older adults, in its life and in service to the world. Our mission is to call forth ministries by, for, and with older adults throughout the Church of the Brethren.

-- Kim Ebersole is director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. Contact her at or 800-323-8039 ext. 305. For more go to

Source: 1/10/2014 Newsline

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