Backward and Forward

 In Featured, Pastor Jeff's Blog

…but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – Philippians 3:13-14

Janus was the ancient Roman god of beginnings, gates, transitions, passages and endings. Quite the portfolio, don’t you think? He was usually depicted as having two faces: one looking back at the past and one looking forward into the future.

The month of January was named after Janus. This is the time of year when we, too, look back on the past year and forward into the year ahead. Here are two simple but powerful questions worth reflecting on as we leave 2021 behind and move into 2022:

  1. What do you need to leave behind? While it’s important to learn from the past it can also be helpful to leave behind those things that will not serve you moving forward. An attitude. An old wound. A grudge. A bad habit. A failure. A memory. Whatever it is, let’s join St. Paul in “forgetting the past…”.
  2. What are you reaching for? What do you sense God calling you to in this New Year? How would you like to be different in 12 months? How would you like your life to be different? What is the “prize” toward which God is calling you?

Invite the Holy Spirit to join you in reflecting on these two questions and be open to the “nudge” of the Spirit within. Don’t stop with the first answer that comes to mind. Dwell in silence for a few minutes, listening deeply.

These aren’t merely questions for self-improvement. You are part of something so much bigger than yourself. You’re a part of God’s movement to make God’s dream for this world a reality. Through you, God seeks to bring love, peace, justice and hope. Being the best YOU is the best thing you can do for God’s work in the world!

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

PS – join us for a new worship series entitled “Planting Hope” beginning January 8-9, 2022 at Prince of Peace as we explore how God is uniquely calling you (and all of us together) into God’s work in the world!

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