One of the great things about the Christian gospel is that God is a God of infinite grace and mercy, a God of never-ending second chances. Human beings yearn to be rid of past mistakes and failures and desire to be forgiven and reconciled in our relationships, especially with God. However, in many years of ministry I have observed that several people have difficulty understanding and accepting God’s grace, which causes them to carry around a very heavy burden of guilt and shame. Human beings seemed to be wired more for revenge and getting even than for unconditional love.
A noted exception is the love parents and grandparents have for their (grand) children. Our (grand) children do not have to earn our love. We freely and joyfully give it, with no regrets. Perhaps this is why Jesus told us to pray, not to Almighty God, but to “our Father who is in heaven.” God’s love of us is like the unconditional love parents have for their children.
Most religions in the world are based on a system of merit, whereby salvation or divine acceptance has to be earned, either by obedience to divine laws or the performance of good works. But the radical good news Jesus brought was that God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and does not hold our sins against us. God does not simply dismiss or overlook our sins; God chooses to forgive them. If we accept this forgiveness – no small feat – we are relieved of this burden and reconciled to the One who created us. This creates a new person, one no longer defined by our mistakes and failures but finally empowered to be the person God created us to be, full of joy, life, and love.This is the wonderful transforming power of divine love.
When we are loved, we have a whole new outlook on life. I have been intrigued that we are entering a new year that is a wonderful play on words: 2020. Eye care providers call perfect vision 20-20. Jesus frequently told people “those who have eyes to see let them see.” We all have eyes, and gladly most of us can see. But Jesus was speaking metaphorically – spiritually – when he spoke of new eyes. The love of God transforms our ability to see truth, beauty, mercy, humility, forgiveness, and love in a whole new way.
So, as we turn a page on the calendar to a new year, let us remember the transforming effect God’s unconditional love can have on us. This love can enable us to let go of old grudges, disappointments, and grievances. We, who have been forgiven by a gracious and generous God, have been liberated to mimic God’s love in our relations to one another. We are living in a harsh, individualist, and dangerous time in history.
May more and more people gain new eyes in Jesus Christ and come to see the world in a whole new light. Happy New Year! I hope to see you in worship on Sunday.
Winterfest is Saturday, January 25! Fun and fundraising are ahead for that afternoon and early evening, including…
A talent show – sign up to participate (or prompt your loved one/friends to do so!). See Amy Rhoades or Millie Swan for info.
Festive cake walk –Several cake walks will be held in the afternoon.
Live auction – Homemade/handmade goodies, as well as other donated items, are welcome! The Mission Team welcomes all vacation stays, tickets, gift cards, or other fun experiences to be donated for auction.
Limited number of baskets – look for the bins in the narthex to donate items. The goal is to have a good number of fun, affordable baskets for your strategic bidding. Items needed include:
Gender-neutral baby items
Valentine's Day delights and treats
Spring Garden items
'Pamper Me' goodies
Date Night (cheese, crackers, beverages, etc.)
Chili Cook-off – Sign up in the narthex to enter your savory creation.
The Mission Team hopes that each family of Trinity will participate by donating or attending this fun event!
Your Generosity is Appreciated! Each member of Trinity’s staff thanks the congregation for their generosity throughout the year. And we are more than grateful for the delicious breads, seasonal treats, thoughtful gifts, and kind contributions to the staff gift fund. We feel loved, appreciated, and supported – thank you, friends!
2020 Round of Invitations
Realm is Trinity’s online church directory, only accessible to individuals with an invitation. Once you accept the invitation, you are able to review your contact information and update items such as phone numbers, mailing address, etc. where needed. You may also privately view your giving to Trinity and print out statements. Invitations to participate in Realm will be sent by end of month.
You are invited to sign up on the 2020 flower calendar on the tripod in the narthex. During the month of your dedication, Virginia will confirm the placement of flowers and remind you of the $35 suggested donation. All donations, after the cost of flowers, are applied to Trinity’s designated music fund.