Another New Year

Another New Year has arrived. It will take me a couple of weeks to adjust to writing 2023 instead of 2022 for the year. The calendar is mostly a tool used to simply mark time. It helps us keep track and remember the important events in the world and in our own lives.

In my parent’s generation, people wanted to know where you were on December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked? Some twenty-eight years later the defining question being asked was, where were you on July 20, 1969, when the astronauts landed on the moon? A date, a time, an event in history, all help us to keep track of our place in God’s creation.

In my own lifetime, 1976 marked our nation’s Bicentennial. It also happened to be when I graduated from Captain Shreve High School, in Shreveport, LA. Six years later, on March 6th, 1982, Liz and I were married in St. James Episcopal Church. Next came our son, Christian, on May 20, 1987, our daughter, Micaela, on November 20, 1989, and finally, our youngest, Mallory, on January 14, 1997, which was during the Great Ice Storm that hit Lake Charles, LA, that year.

For people from Louisiana, we remember August 29, 2005, as the date when Hurricane Katrina came ashore and forever changed life as we knew it. When three inches of snow hit Baton Rouge, in December of 2008, we now proudly refer to it as the Great Blizzard of 08’. On February 1st of 2017, I became the new rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Morristown, Tennessee. Of course I will always remember when my bishop here in East Tennessee, told us to get ready for the COVID-19 pandemic back in March of 2020.

As I reflect on the years that have gone by, I realize that there has never been a year that was just plain ordinary or uneventful. There have always been wonderful times when I have stood in total awe of the power that humanity has to serve the greater good. There have also been those times when my heart has been broken because of humanity’s indifference to the suffering of others.

The year 2023 is indeed a new year. It brings with it the potential for tremendous good and bad. So this new year I have only one resolution to make. I resolve to live into my Baptismal Covenant. This year I want to really seek out Christ in all persons and love my neighbor as myself. This year really I want to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.

While it is true that there is much more to the Baptismal Covenant, I’ve chosen to focus on the last two promises. As I see it, those two alone are more than enough to keep me busy for the whole of 2023.

Peace, Mark+