Keep Standing… Still Standing
by PASTOR JEFF WILLIAMS
Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church
So, how’s it going with your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you still stand by them? With the help of some wise advisers to consider a life of movement or training, rather than simple exercise, I am trying to work out three times a week at the YMCA. I achieved that goal the first two weeks and worked out two days last week. The odds are not good that we will keep our resolutions, whether they are tied to the new year or some other reference point. However, two positive factors involved in keeping resolutions are: 1) having small, measurable goals, and 2) going public with them to seek the support of friends. Pursuing general goals in isolation—get in shape, lose weight, improve finances—does not help us stand up to the pressure of daily demands on our time and attention.
Standing is a sign and act of perseverance. Years ago I attended the funeral for the child of a former member. The pastor led us in an encouraging two-part act of faith that still resounds within me. Early in the service as we entered the fullness of grief for the loss of this child, he asked us to turn to the person next to us and say, “Keep standing.” Later in the service as we entered into the comfort of Scripture, song and prayer, he asked us to turn again and say to one another, “Still standing.” The blend of encouraging one another and affirming our ability to stand was remarkable. It was a modern day reference to Saint Paul’s affirmation, “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God,” Romans 5:1-2.
May you be resolved to stand in grace together with others in 2011. God bless you.