RICHMOND, Va. — As we watched in the new year here at my home church– The First African Baptist Church– tonight, the minister challenged us to make 2011 the year to recovery those things that were lost in the first decade of the new millennium.
It’s a challenge I accept as the minutes in the first hour of the new year (in the Eastern Time Zone) tick away. Pastor Emory Berry, one of the newest pastors in our city — just became the leader of the flock called Fourth Baptist Church, located in Richmond’s Church Hill Community.
For at least the last two decades, First African and Fourth Baptist have worshipped together on New Year’s Eve alternating between our sanctuaries on the North side and Church Hill. Both congregations have relatively new pastors, ours– the great Dr. Rodney Waller delivered his first New Year’s Eve message in the series at Fourth Baptist a year ago tonight.
Tonight, Rev. Berry delivered the message “My Struggle Made Me Stronger” taking Paul’s testimony in his second letter to the Corinthians about the “thorn in his flesh” that reminded him God’s grace is sufficient in his weakness.
As I look into what will happen in this New Year, I am reminded of Rev. Berry’s words tonight that after God gives us a glimpse of our future, he uncovers our faults to keep us humble. Secondly, we have to discover our faith as we week God in prayer and thirdly, that God helps us recover our future.
For the first time that I can remember, after praying in the New Year, we opened the New Year by having a candlelight communion service. I believe this is a NEW TRADITION that the two churches are beginning as we continuing the old tradition of the joint services.
What will I recover in 2011? Well, first and foremost, I need to recover time spent on things other than work. I need to recover time to work on my health. Earlier today I celebrated losing 16 pounds over the course of 2010. That gave me the very first boost that REALLY needed in my effort to shed weight that is keeping me from being all that I can be. The weight loss will continue in 2011 because I’ve not just resolved to do so, I have already begun it and have a head start, and a plan for how to do it in the first days of the new year.
Besides my health and my time, I will recover order in my own life by having fewer things to do. That means withdrawing from AT LEAST THREE leadership roles in 2011. I am looking forward to having order because I have finally acknowledged the limitations that mandate I prioritize and cut from my agenda things that are just not humanly possible to accomplish. Setting clear boundaries is an important step for me in 2011.
I’ll awaken in a few hours to put these specifics into action even as we gather on New Year’s Day for the Richmond’s Citywide Emancipation Proclamation Service.
It’s a Happy New Year for me, I can feel it already— 2011 WILL BE MY YEAR OF RECOVERY!