Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

Search
Close this search box.

“I am no longer my own, but thine”

January 1, 2024
SHARE

Daily Scripture

Exodus 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:5-7, 9-10

It’s a United Methodist tradition to greet each New Year by praying John Wesley’s Covenant prayer. This week’s GPS is designed to lead us through that historic prayer phrase by phrase.
You can study the prayer more deeply through Chris Folmsbee’s book The Wesley Prayer Challenge Participant Book, published by Abingdon Press. The book is available through the Well Bookstore (https://thewell.cor.org/), is also available in a Kindle version, and has resources for group as well as individual study.

Exodus 19
5 So now, if you faithfully obey me and stay true to my covenant, you will be my most precious possession out of all the peoples, since the whole earth belongs to me. 6 You will be a kingdom of priests for me and a holy nation. These are the words you should say to the Israelites.”

1 Peter 2
5 You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple. You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Thus it is written in scripture, Look! I am laying a cornerstone in Zion, chosen, valuable. The person who believes in him will never be shamed [Isaiah 28:16]. 7 So God honors you who believe. For those who refuse to believe, though, the stone the builders tossed aside has become the capstone.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. 10 Once you weren’t a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you hadn’t received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The medieval church said clergy, from priests to popes, were spiritually and legally superior to “lay people.” On biblical grounds, John Wesley, like earlier reformers, disagreed. “God gave the ‘precious keys’ for heaven itself, which was first received in baptism, to all believers…. Luther then referred to such forgiven sinners as ‘the priesthood of all believers,’ a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5) that was not reserved for a special class of [ordained] people.” * All believers, not just clergy, are God’s, not our own.

  • New Testament Christians found Jesus’ work all through the Old Testament. 1 Peter 2:6 quoted Isaiah 28:16; verse 7 drew on Psalm 118:22; verse 9 took an image Exodus 19:6 used for Israel, and verse 10 inverted the sad symbolic names of Hosea’s children (Hosea 1). Have you ever thought of yourself as a member of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession”? How does that deepen your sense of mission and purpose?
  • Some Bible scholars believe 1 Peter was adapted from instruction for new converts at their baptism. (The church pictured in Acts 2:41-47 included 3000 or more people who joined after Peter’s sermon at Pentecost.) How, if at all, do you remind yourself of your confirmation, baptism, or other time when you first “owned” your faith in Jesus? (To learn more about baptism, for you or someone else, click here.) How do you let your identity as a Christ-follower shape your daily life?
Prayer

Lord God, I often fail you, yet you call me chosen, holy, a part of a royal priesthood. Help me each day as I seek to live into the amazing identity with which you honor me as your child. Amen.

GPS Insights

Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt is an ordained Elder in the Missouri Annual Conference and has served since 2007. She is thrilled to be specializing in pastoral care of elderly adults as Resurrection's Silverlink Pastor. She is married to Randall, a special education teacher. They have two daughters, Elliott and Marlowe. When Emily is not in a care home sharing communion or with her family on another Kansas City adventure, you can find her curled up on the couch at home binge watching "Friends" or "Golden Girls."

Happy New Year! Can I confess to you that I think this holiday may be my very least favorite of them all? Before we had children, my spouse and I used to wake up on the morning of New Year’s Eve and for approximately five minutes consider leaving the house that night–but… traffic, impaired drivers, expensive food, cold weather, bad parking… our list kept going and eventually we would talk ourselves out of leaving past five p.m. or so on New Year’s Eve. Now with kids? Forget it. Babysitters are expensive and we are too tired to stay up willingly until midnight anyway. Before you label me as the Grinch who stole your happy new year, let me also add that I dislike the pressure this season brings on all of us the most.

This will be the year I get organized. This will be the year I lose weight. This will be the year I stop overworking. This will be the year I get my addiction under control. This will be the year I read more. This will be the year I do not collect clutter. This will the year I travel more. This will the year I keep my house clean. And on and on and on we go with all the resolutions we make for this to be the year we finally figure it all out. I have done it with you, my friend. We all have. We are conditioned to do it by the sea of advertising we swim in and the society we are part of. But what if there is a better way for us as Christians?

What if we said the first part of this Wesleyan Covenant Prayer as our resolution for this new year? “I am no longer my own, but thine…” Remember that paragraph of resolutions above? They all depended on you and you, alone. They started and ended with only you. This beautiful prayer starts with you, but it ends with God. Holding you. Loving you. Claiming you.

I leave you with words from Nadia Bolz-Weber, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of American and one of my favorite public theologians. She shares this about the New Year:

“May you remember that there is no resolution that, if kept, will make you more worthy of love. You, as your actual self and not as some made up ideal, are already worthy.”

May it be so for 2024 and beyond. Happy New Year.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Steven Paulson, Luther for Armchair Theologians. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 163.