December 31, 2011The first time I heard the phrase, Tabula Rasa, I was blown away by the idea of a blank slate and how new beginnings offer a blank slate on which to write a life - a day, a year, a moment at a time. At the time of this writing there are six hours left in 2011, a year writ large in both suffering and joy. 2012 stands in the wings waiting to be written.... a tabula rasa.... and we, you and I, hold the pen. The psalmist says, "Day by day pours forth speech...." We have read the story of 2011 and God's presence with us in tales of loss and gain. The stock market has had great losses and gains, so much so that there is still little confidence in the market, even if we do the "breathing" Warren Buffet recommends. Job losses, house fore closings, political acrimony all stand alongside continuing life circumstances of poverty, mental illness, death and fear of death, horrible and scary diagnoses, and there seems no relief, even though a new year cometh. We who somehow think we have control over our circumstances are blinded by ego that will take us on a rabbit trail of false hope and disappointment. In this night, when around the world people either dress up in finery and listen to the symphony and watch the ball drop in Times Square or the acorn in First Night Raleigh, or they hunker down in hovels of poverty and deprivation, hope is on the mind. For where there is not hope, there is really not much else. The year that waits six hours away holds the promise that every year since the beginning of time has held. The reason? God holds it.. all of it. Today I have been with family and talked with other family far away. I have been with people in a county that has been devastated by a storm whose name was "Irene." People are working to recover a life and a goodness that is God's promise. Friends I know who read this blog have been slammed by hurt and pain, and fear that would call all of us off course. 2011 has been written with a plenty of loss and sadness, but 2012 is coming, ready or not. And best of all, God is with us. Our faith is a pen that will write a new year with hope and assurance that in it all, we will know healing grace and a promise that will will not face our fears alone. 2012 is a tabula rasa ready to be written with joy and hope that suffering is not the end game. Here is my hope, that we we will together in all that will come, stand strong, singing our faith and sharing our hope. We are not alone and we are the body of Christ for the world. Our writing is our witness. Write large on the tablet that is your life. Write hope and good and confidence that we are together and God is here. And God is faithful far beyond all our fear and doubt. "Great is thy faithfulness. Great is thy faithfulness. Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed, thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me." Amen.