A very long time ago, people looked around at the world and concluded that life runs in cycles. They saw, rightfully, that seasons come and go—from rain to dry, from hot to cold, from animal births in spring to harvests in fall; from long days in summer to short ones in winter. People in ancient days assumed that life was the same, over and over again, and that nothing new ever truly occurred.

The witness of the Bible suggests a different view. It’s not just that the Creator God seeks to restore life for and through a faithful, trusting people. It’s also that this promised “salvation”—healing—stimulates something new. Both Isaiah and Revelation reflect some hints of this awareness—that God is active in this world; that God works with what is here yet calls for “a new thing;” that being followers of Jesus involves us with divine opportunities that we could not have imagined otherwise.

So, each January signals something familiar and stable while also, at the same time, something possible and inviting. Life does need some degree of routine, but it goes subtlely stale if we don’t give attention to God’s Spirit. Our Christian hope is driven by the conviction that the Holy Spirit offers change that moves us more fully into God’s purposes.

How might 2017 be a year in which God’s hopes for this world find fresh expression in First Presbyterian Church? A new class of elders joins the Session this month. A new pastor is somewhere on the horizon. Hurricane Matthew left many residents in Columbus and nearby counties struggling to meet basic needs. Whiteville seeks a renewed economic base. Terrorist acts at home and abroad aim to create a climate of fear.

What’s new? Let’s find out together—as we join hearts and hands in 2017, to follow God into this next future. Let’s do it because we dare to follow Jesus.

New Year’s blessings,
George Thompson
Interim Co-Pastor

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