The first is from our newspaper this morning. Over the last few days there have been too many incidents involving officer involved shootings all over the nation. We have had one in our area as well, and it inspired the obligatory protest gathering. One difference here was the appearance of an outside faction from the big city (Houston) who was apparently invited to help make sure appropriate justice was meted out. Meanwhile, a local motorcycle gang had determined to stand up for the police if any such gathering occurred around here. It had all the makings of something that could turn quite violent, quite fast. In a nutshell … it didn’t. The police were standing by. The rhetoricians attempted their speech-making. The motorcycle gang revved up their engines so the speakers could not be heard. Individuals literally went toe to toe “sharing dialogue” with one another. But no violence. Hats off to the local ministerial alliance for doing their best to keep everyone calm. Here’s what one of them had to say in today’s paper:
“I’m personally encouraged that even though nonmembers of our community came to stage a protest, our police department simply stood by and allowed those persons who chose to argue with each other – without physical violence – to exercise their lungs as they called each other names that are not worthy of being repeated in print.” --Rev. James E. Daniels
The second message comes from the book I have been reading from daily over the course of the last year. It is called Strength for Service to God and Community. It is a daily devotional book for first responders and really for anyone engaged regularly in the service of others. Here’s a portion of the entry for today’s date:
“It is interesting how an infinite God with no beginning or end gave us all stopping and starting points, allowing for new places in life.If today you have old patterns, unhealthy ways, or excess emotional or spiritual baggage that you are tired of carrying, what a great day to tell it all goodbye and turn over a new chapter in life. You can reflect back over the blessings and beauties of this past year, be grateful for the victories, then let go of the failures and begin anew. God is in the business of new beginnings and fresh starts.”
There is much that I, too, am personally encouraged about, Rev. Daniels. And paramount among those is that new beginnings/fresh start idea of God’s. In fact, he liked it so much he encouraged it, not just yearly, but every day. Every day is new. Joy comes in the morning. So my closing wish for 2014? Good morning!
Psalms 30:4-5 says, “Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Father, thank you for granting us new beginnings. And thank you for making them possible every day. Most of us need a good reboot more than once a year. Amen.