Today’s scripture was sent in a New Year’s message from Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of Movieguide.org and The Christian Film and Television Commission. Searching the scriptures for different translations of Isaiah 43:18-19 the following interpretation was found in The Voice translation. “The prophet appeals to a powerful memory: the exodus. He reminds God’s people — all descendants of slaves in Egypt — how God freed them from oppression, how God devastated the powerful army that pursued them in order to take them back to the whip and lash, back to servitude in Egypt. Stories of the exodus have been told time after time for many generations; they are permanent fixtures in their minds. The prophet evokes these amazing memories to comfort them and assure them that what God is about to do is like what God did for their ancestors centuries ago.”
This passage and commentary seemed appropriate to start the new year. As we begin 2020, pastors and intercessors were asked, “What is God saying for 2020?” Here are their comments.
Join the Nation in Prayer
The Rev. Gloria Reed Chauvin leads the Community Call to Prayer group the first Friday of each month. Today at noon, a small group will meet at the Grotto at the Main Library in New Iberia praying in unison for the nation according to a concerted effort. Her thoughts to start the new year include the following.
“2020 will be an exciting year. I believe the Lord spoke to me that it will be a year of 20/20 vision. We will see clearly what God is doing and how important our response is to His call to pray. Strategies will be revealed and we will run with them to the finish line,” Chauvin said.
Be a Good Samaritan
The Rev. Allen R. Randle Sr. leads three congregations of Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church In Franklin, New Iberia and Abbeville had this to say about the new year.
“The Gospel according to St. Luke recorded in the 25th-37th verses of chapter 10, the answer to the world’s woes is given. We must do church Samaritan style if we are really going to be of service to a dying and decaying world. Moreover, the believers’ hope of eternal life is also wrapped up in how we respond to people who have been beaten and bleeding having fallen among thieves and robbers, so to speak. It is every believer’s responsibility to minister to the overall needs of others and fulfill the needs of others as demonstrated in the story. It is then that we fulfill our Christian duty. A Samaritan, who was considered rejected by the religious community of that day did just that. Let us not be like the priest and the Levite in the text who did see the man beaten and bleeding condition and turned a blinded eye to the dying man by passing on the other side.”
Along the same line of thinking, the Rev. Kenny Wright, pastor at New Iberia Church of Christ had these sentiments.
“In 2020, we are continuing to follow Christ into the fringes where the marginalized of New Iberia live. We have chosen to ‘do life’ with them because we are ‘them.’ All of us, regardless of our race, gender, age or language, have at one time or another found ourselves longing to be seen, heard, loved and to belong. God continues to help us engage others as He has engaged each of us. It is not easy and, truth be told, it is often messy. However, the relationships are genuine and the lives that are touched are worth every risk that Christ has given us. In the process we, like New Iberia, are being transformed into something far better than we could ever be on our own.”
Vision for 2020
Rev. Msgr. J. Robert Romero from Nativity of Our Lady in New Iberia responded this way.
“As we are reminded that the New Year 2020 is the beginning of a new decade, I pray Christians today show our world the lived faith of the early Christians. As quoted by Tertulian’s ‘Apology,’ Chapter 39.7 (circa 200 AD), ‘Look how they love one another.’ This is the command of Christ, ‘I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ (John 13:34-35). The early Christians seemed to live Christ’s love more intensely than we do. Yet, our post-Christian world needs our example of love and we need to be faithful to Christ. I pray that by our example, our society can be more loving, forgiving, caring, respectful and civil. It would be great that in the decade of the 2020’s our society is more humane because you and I — in following Christ — Christ’s love moves each person we meet to love as Christ loves.”
The Rev. Bill John Melancon, pastor at St. Rita Catholic Church on the Catahoula highway in St. Martinville, shared these thoughts for all.
“Every beginning of a new year makes us plan for what to do with the time that God is giving us. Of course, time means nothing when we stretch into eternity. In this coming year it would be great if we would spend time in being authentic with ourselves, especially when we encounter others. This integration of every facet of who we are brings us to that authentic self. There is no need for excuses or lies when we are authentic with ourselves and others. Our lives become less stressed. We do not have to scheme and plot to try to preserve an empty image of ourselves. God loves us and He loves us as we are. Our gift to Him is perfecting ourselves in His image. Again, it isn’t what we falsely portray, but who we really are. Our gift to Him is who we truly are.”