As the year turns to 2013, A local pastor from a Lutheran congregation in Florida urged believers in Jesus Christ turn away from sin and look toward the unchanging Lord who renews each individual, seeking Him among hungry and marginalized people.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" a Lutheran pastor from Florida emphasized in a year-end meditation posted on Monday to the "Living Lutheran" blog.
The Rev. Dr. Keith Spencer of Trinity Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Pembroke Pines, Fla., stated that as the year turns, only Jesus Christ is worthy to remain and believers should turn away from 'sin that clings' and look toward the Lord manifested in 'the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the incarcerated, the voiceless, the marginalized, the broken."
He quoted from the biblical passage in Hebrews 13:8.
"'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever' and maybe we like to cling to the notion that this 'unchangingness' of Jesus can hold other things the same, unchanging, preserved. Something else to hold on to when so much else is crumbling, proved impermanent, built on sandy soil, muddy ground, the cliff's edge; as if we truly need what we desire, something else," he wrote.
"But strip it all away, and there is Jesus, Nothing else left, needed, worth our clinging to, worth our hope, our heart, our all," he added.
However he also emphasized another passage stating how Christ renews believers.
"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" Rev. Spencer quotes from 2 Corinthians 5:17.
"We are creations made new in Christ. New and being renewed. Dying, rising, living and free to live without the binding of fear, the nothingness of death, the smell of clods of earth and wilting flowers. And at the turning of the year that should bring no small comfort, our being made new, the old gone and thankfully so. You and I made new and daily being renewed, in Christ," he said.
Instead of looking toward sin as the year turns, he urged believers to look for the Lord in downtrodden people.
"And so we turn at the turning of the year. We turn away from the sin that clings, that whispers our secret fears, that masquerades in visage that delights and repulses. We turn away from the foolishness of false gods and blindness of the suffering of others, of blaming victims, of judging, of the dust speck in another's eye, of failing to see what is right before us, the Lord in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the incarcerated, the voiceless, the marginalized, the broken," he said.
He concluded with a final call to turn to the Lord.
"We turn away from what we do and fail to do, from the standing idly by, the silences; we turn in repentance, in hope, in promise, to Christ, whose mercy never fails. We turn and turn and turn. At the turning of the year."