Happy New Year! I don’t think so.

From Rev. Ara Guekguezian

The Grinch in me rears its ugly head as the celebration pick ups as the end of one leg ends and a new leg is about to commence. All things new? No, not true. The pains of abuse and neglect from 2017 do not just magically disappear on January 1st of 2018. The last month of 2017 was very painful for me. To hear the voice of our national leadership say unequivocally that some matter more than others — because that is what budgets say, — these are our priorities. The statement was coming from the same mouths that make verbal statements about a Christian nation. And it makes me ill. Leave Christ out of your mouth, as you have out of the federal budget.

We at First Congregational have budget decisions to make and they must reflect the light of Christ. There will be a lot of energy expended in setting the course for the way our tithes and offerings will be used to make peace and establish justice, and to extend the love of God.

As I was in my angry mood, I thought that we should take a moment each week to try and understand what God does indeed desire of God’s people. The noise from our culture tends to focus on personal piety and purity in body. My understanding of scripture as it bears witness to the Word (Jesus), is that it starts with God and God’s love for creation and its creatures, including — especially — we humans. God desires and demands right relationship. The implications of this is made clear in the what is heard over and over and over again in the word of the prophets and in the word of Jesus.

So beginning in mid-January, on the 17th we will resume Sacred Pursuits on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. in the Heritage room for 50 minutes. We will begin with a study of the Minor Prophets. These short pieces will have much broader implications as we determine historical context, form and mindset, and do some translating work to our age and worldview.

The study of the Biblical witness keeps me on task and hopeful. I do not get to wallow in my anger. Nor do I succumb to hopelessness. I am also reminded that it is not our world or my world. This century does not belong to the Chinese or the West or the U.S.A. It does not belong to a dictator or the one with the biggest gun or the biggest bankroll. It is God’s universe.

And it is good to hear God’s desire for the universe and us on a regular basis.


Pastor Ara


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