John’s Monthly Letter

“A New Start”
Dear Hopefulls,
This month I would like to share with you the daily
devotional sent by our United Church of Christ
denomination on January 18, 2015. The reflection
is entitled “Off to Great Places.” The author is
Kenneth L. Samuel. Here is a slightly edited
version:
Scripture “You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.” Psalm
139:3
Reflection:
“All alone!
Whether you like it or not, l
Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
You’ll meet things that scare you right out of your
pants.
There are some down the road between hither and
yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go
on.”
These words of Dr. Seuss’ from “Oh, The Places
You’ll Go” set us on a path to great discoveries,
enchanting encounters and wonderful experiences.
But according to Dr. Suess, our journeys to exciting
places and wondrous sites will inevitably lead us to
the place of self-encounter. The journey of selfdiscovery is the most amazing journey of all,
because worlds outside of us have little meaning
unless they touch and inspire the worlds inside of
us. Dr. Fred Craddock said that the greatest
distances in life are actually the distances between
head and heart. God has searched the nuances of
our intimate being and fathomed the depths of our
innermost inclinations. And God has found each of
us to be worthy of love, respect and redemption.
Sometimes I wonder why God is more excited
about my past, my present and my potential than I
am. God must see some things in me that I’m too
busy looking elsewhere to see in myself. Maybe it’s
time for me to interrupt my ambitious itinerary and
take a long journey home.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for all the ways you
change and shape my life every single day. And
thank you for another year. Amen.
On the last Wednesday of this month we will
celebrate Ash Wednesday and enter into the
Season of Lent. We often understand Lent as a
somber time, a time to reflect on our Christian
discipleship and consider ways to walk more
faithfully in the way of Jesus Christ. Maybe this
year we can use the weeks of Lent to not just
chastise ourselves for past sins. Maybe we can
also use Lent as an opportunity to pursue the
adventures God puts on our hearts that may enable
us to more fully live the abundant life that Christ
came to offer us. As Dr. Seuss says, “You’re off to
Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is
waiting. So… get on your way!”
Best wishes for a blessed Lenten Season.
Blessings and love,  John