Pastor’s Page

Dear UJCC families,

People differ on how they experience New Year’s Day. Some people make a list of New Year’s resolutions. Some sign up for gym membership, while others begin to learn how to play a musical instrument. Some others, like me, give up on making New Year’s resolutions since they learned that they can’t stick to the resolutions for more than three days. Some plan to work more in the New Year, while others plan to play more. For some people, the New Year’s Day is more
important than any other day in the year, while for some others, it is “just another day.” How about you? Do you have new hopes, dreams, and resolutions for the New Year? How would you like to start the new year?

Whether or not we recognize New Year’s Day as a special day, I believe the significance of this “new day” for Christians comes from our belief that every day is actually a new day, another opportunity to serve, and a loving “present” from God. New Year’s Day is a great symbol that reminds us of the new day God allows us to experience everyday. Yes, in a sense, it is just another day. The same old life problems that have been heavy on our shoulders do not really go
away just because it is a new year. However, if we can open our hearts and pay attention to God’s grace in our daily life, we may be able to see that it is a blessing that ever since God created the heavens and the earth there is evening and there is morning (Genesis 1:5). Everyday is God’s new creation.

I believe that what we are called to do in order to experience God’s new creation in our daily life throughout the New Year is to change our perspective. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, proclaims that: “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17, NRSV)

Here, the Scripture is telling us that the secret to become “a new creation” is to change our perspective. Paul says that we once knew Christ from a human point of view. If we see Jesus Christ from a human point of view, what we see is a man who was betrayed, abandoned, and crucified. The Christ crucified is “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:21)”. However, everything looks different when we are in Christ. When we are in Christ, we experience the unceasing love of God manifested in the life, death, and resurrection of the Christ.  When we are in Christ, we realize that we do not have to justify anything to be
loved by the Most High. When we are in Christ, no matter how tough it might seem, our life has a meaning and purpose to expand the Kingdom of God on earth. When we are in Christ, though “the grass withers and flowers fall” (Isaiah 40:8), I am always a new creation: “Behold, everything old has passed away, everything has become new.”

May this God’s grace and peace bless your brand new days in 2018, mold you to become a new creation, and enable you to continuously create the Kingdom of God in your family, school, work, church and everywhere you go.

New Year’s blessing to you all

Rae