The last day of the year. I can find all the things I didn’t do and wanted to do in 2022. But I choose not to. Instead I choose to remember the “unplanned” accomplishments, ones that just happened without me stressing.
Watching a great movie and enjoying it with my husband.
Chomping down the best chicken cacciatore I’ve ever had at a restaurant called Tony’s in NYC.
Seeing the best Broadway play, “Death of A Salesman.”
Talking to my daughter on a phone call that lasted more an hour.
Becoming the pastor of an historic Black church in Pennsylvania.
Finding great deals on good bottles of wines!
I am sure there are much more “unplanned” accomplishments that I allowed myself to be present for. The ones that need no strategies, no time limits, no approval, the ones that create memories to treasure for a lifetime.
The older I become, the less of things I need to make me feel I need to prove myself to the world. Here I come, 2023, with more “unplanned” stuff in my basket, embracing whatever the year has for me, feeling grateful just for the opportunity to be alive.
The last Sunday of 2020. And my pastor decided that I would be the one to preach the last sermon of the year. Of 2020 y’all?!! Of course I could have preached about the pandemic, the fourteen million people who are unemployed, eviction notices being issued, and black lives still being brutalized. So, yes, I did preach about those things, but I also challenged what things would look like if we all participated with God in making these disturbing, ugly, sinful, issues disappear for good. How can we find ways to partner with God?
No, I am not one who believe that all we have to do is put everything in God’s hands and well, then walk away. Let God handle it. I mean, God already created the universe, provided the land for food and kind of just dropped the planet in our lap, so can we do something that God will be in total awe!? If anything from 2020, we have learned how to survive with little. We finally realized we don’t need all the stuff, the perfect phone, the sharp car (I do drive a 2011 Mercedes Benz) or the social media fame that makes overnight celebrities (well, let me rethink that one). But seriously, in all of this year’s darkness, we found people helping each other, people working with people they would have never given the time of day. This pandemic destroyed lives and in a weird way, this pandemic allowed us to see how precious life is.
So here’s my challenged. There is this scripture that points directly to how we can partner with God; yes I’m a preacher, get over it, but just hear me out, okay?
“If there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interest of others.” Philippians 2:1-4
We need each other and God needs us. If we truly want peace; if we truly want to see people made whole; if we truly want to eradicate homelessness and hunger; if we truly want all people to live free; then we must learn from 2020. Let’s see if we can show God what we’re made of!