Tradition, and Wikipedia, hold that the month of January is derived from the name of the Roman deity Janus, "...the god of beginnings and transitions..." Because this deity looked to the past and the future, he was typically depicted with two faces (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus). We don't worship Janus, but the New Year's tradition of reflecting on the past year and greeting the new year with anticipation has value for us, both corporately and individually.
At the January business meeting, the Leadership Council will return to the congregation with a draft summary of the responses from the Congregational Conversation that began in October. It will include reflections on the recent past (What should we continue doing on our journey together?), and a look to our future (What new things should we be doing by 2018?). The Council will present its draft summary, and (via additional meetings and other processes) will ask the congregation to respond, agree, disagree, modify, and eventually prioritize, together. In addition, the Administrative Commission will soon be presenting budget recommendations, and asking the congregation to make pledges of financial support for the new fiscal year. These are two important ways we will be corporately looking at our past and future in the coming weeks.
What about some of you, as individuals in our congregation? As you reflect on 2013 at Ravensworth, what stands out for you? What memorable experience did you have, either as an individual or part of a group? Where did your journey veer off in an unexpected direction? Where did you experience transformation, or gain insight, or build relationships? Where are you being called to share love, do justice, and/or build community in the coming year?
Whether you reflect on these questions privately, or share your responses with others, I hope you find value in the process. Maybe this "process" is really a kind of prayer: an offering of gratitude for the year that has passed, and a request for the Spirit's leading in the year to come.
Happy New Year!