Friday, January 1, 2010

I will, with God's Help

Last night we crossed the bridge into a new decade, and though the future is still shrouded in mist, I find myself wanting to make resolutions that will span a longer period of time than the week or so they usually last.

My first instinct is to resolve the following:

To listen more, and talk less
To accept more, and demand less
To be open to more, and assume less
To love more, and reject less
To trust more, and condemn less,
To give more, and buy less
and the time-honored favorite (always the first to be broken)
To exercise more, and eat less.

But then I thought, how can I make these stick; how can I find a way to actually follow through? And the words that came to me were, not just to resolve, but to say "I will, with God's help." Which is the title of this year's exhibit series for ECVA -- an exhibit based on the Episcopal Baptismal Covenant. And so I offer -- as an alternative set of resolutions, should the above be too simple -- these time-honored words, recited by Anglican congregations the world over whenever an individual is baptized:

Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship,
in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

I will, with God's help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin,
repent and return to the Lord?

I will, with God's help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

I will, with God's help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons,
loving your neighbor as yourself?

I will, with God's help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people,
and respect the dignity of every human being?

I will, with God's help.

Yes, I agree; the language is rather churchy. But the intent is wonderful. Perhaps if I take the liberty of paraphrasing a bit? I apologize in advance if I have offended by revising the language; my intent is only to reveal the universal wisdom that lies beneath the sometimes loaded words.

I'll do my best to act in the best interests of humanity, to spend time with others who are attempting to do the same, and to regularly set aside time for quiet listening and prayer. I'll do my best not to put my own desires first, and to listen for Divine guidance. I'll do my best to be the best I can be, and to share whatever wisdom falls my way. I'll do my best to acknowledge and respect the Divine spark in everyone I meet, and to treat others with as much tender acceptance as I am learning to treat myself. And I'll do my best to work toward a world where that Divine spark is acknowledged, encouraged and rewarded in everyone, and all have the opportunity to become the Light they were born to be.

All three sets of resolutions are tall orders. I suspect the key will always be those 5 words:

I will, with God's help.

I wish you a peace-filled, creative, illuminated decade, and the courage to become the person you were born to be. And I believe we can work toward all of the above, if we do it together, support one another, and know that whichever resolutions we do manage to accomplish, we do with the assistance of that Divine Spirit that lives and moves and breathes in and through us.

Happy New Year, good friends.


M.L. Gallagher said...

Oh Diane, this is beautiful. Thank you!

And a peace-filled New Year of joy and abundance and love to you.

Maureen said...

Yes, and may we all, with God's help. Or, as Murray Bodo has written, by letting God be God. Through us.

Wonderful First Day post, Diane. Blessings.

KimQuiltz said...

Me too! (With God's help)

karen gerstenberger said...

I love this prayer...It is brilliant and simple, humble and inspired. Thank you for sharing it, and Happy New Year to you and yours! XO

Dana's Blog said...

Diane, my favorite memory device to "listen more and talk less" is this:

we have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.

love you,

Dana W. said...

Ah, Dana, that is more than perfect. Thank you -- and good luck on your return to work.

Hmm. Maybe I should post this response on YOUR blog...