How to Use This Issue (January 2014)

Happy new year! I hope each time you write “2014” this month you feel a small God-tap reminding you that you can begin again.

We just celebrated the birth of Christ—God is with us! Now let’s let God be with us. Find a way this month to let yourself be open to feeling God’s love. Sharon Delgado talks about how to do this in her article “In God’s Will” on pages 11-13. For me, running, or rocking my son to sleep are good times for me to talk and listen to God. But the time I feel closest to God is when I’m writing this column, when I’m talking to you. I thank God for you and can’t wait to see what we’ll accomplish this year.

Part of making room for God is healing from the hurts that take up precious soul space. Cari Jackson discusses the practice of forgiveness in the Bible study “Learning to Forgive” on pages 8-10. Sometimes we say “I forgive you” and wonder why the magic words didn’t make our hurt disappear. Why are we still angry? Are we not good enough Christians? The new year is a good time to remind yourself that forgiveness is a process, not an event. Just because you can’t forgive right now doesn’t mean you won’t, and you don’t owe it to anyone but yourself. This issue’s Bible study can help you or someone you love start the process.

As a country we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this month. A prophet, he had a vision for what the world could be, of what he believed God wants the world to be. As United Methodist Women members we have a vision of a world in which all people thrive. We still live in a world of have and have-nots, and the dividing line is still too often between whites and people of color. United Methodist Women has been a leading force for racial justice in The United Methodist Church. Celebrate this month by sharing our Charter for Racial Justice and Racial Justice Time Line, both available for free at www.umwmissionresources.org.

How we spend our money is a good indicator of what we value, especially on a governmental level. Richard Lord’s discussion of poverty in “For I Was Hungry” on pages 25-27 is a good example of where our treasure and thus our collective heart lies, and it does not always seem to lie with the poor and the widow.

Untrue generalizations of the poor being lazy or “taking advantage of the system” make it easier for those who benefit from unfair systems to dismiss responsibility for the unfairness. Even if we disagree on the methods, if our shared goal is to end poverty then it’s a discussion we must have. Have it with your group this month. What are some of the solutions to poverty? Do you live near a national mission institution working on the issue? Maybe they can come speak to your group, or you could visit and volunteer.

We live in a world of abundance. This year, let’s make sure the next time an important program’s budget is cut it’s because the need for the program has decreased, not because we are operating from a fear of scarcity. We can have a world in which all are safe and happy.

Subscribe to response.

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About Tara Barnes

editor of response, the magazine of United Methodist Women.
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