By the Rev. Carlton Kelley
As I write, the church is commemorating the slaughter of the Holy Innocents by King Herod some 2000 years ago. These children are counted as the first martyrs for the cause of Christ. And, as always, their deaths were caused by someone’s desire to hold onto power no matter the cost. Some things never change. The picture, now known around the world, of the 5 year old Syrian boy bloodied and dirtied by the war in Aleppo tragically comes easily to mind. It seems that the young, the weak, the poor and those without power are always the first victims of war.
There seems to be no place we can turn to receive good news about the world. Many countries have difficulties that equal or exceed the ones we are experiencing in the United States. The most positive way to interpret our times may be to realize that we are going through a period of instability and change. Some historians tell us that we are enduring but one in a cycle that happens approximately every 500 years. While that may be true, it gives little comfort for those who are involved in the most extreme of changes such as the people of Aleppo and all who suffer through economic and political instability. It seems that often our leaders of whatever political persuasion or nationality care more for their positions than those they have been called to serve. In the midst of things we sometimes cannot understand or control, what is a faithful Christian to do?
St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta, working in the midst of extreme poverty and the accompanying dehumanizing conditions, is known to have said that all Christians can do small things with great love. Few of us have been given the authority to make sweeping changes that will benefit everyone. Yet all of us know how to pray and how to act, each and every day, with love and compassion. We all know how to give thanks for our many blessings and to give our blessings to others.
Sunday, January 1, is the Feast of the Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I can think of no better way to begin the New Year than by putting all our intentions, all our actions, all our hopes and desires for the New Year, under Jesus’ merciful and loving authority. Come join with your sisters and brothers to make 2017 a year that begins in worship, praise, and petition for the times in which we live and those that are ahead.