It was a pastor's worst nightmare. I arrived at church early on Sunday morning and the church was freezing cold. The furnace was not working. I hit the reset button and nothing happened. On an ordinary morning I'd call the heating company and let it go.
This wasn't your average day. It was a Sunday in Advent and we were planning one of our biggest services of the year. To make matters worse, we were hosting a musical program featuring a full orchestra and 60-plus singers from area churches that afternoon.
All morning I fretted over the situation. I made myself sick with worry. Yet, there wasn't much I could do. It was out of my hands. We bundled up and made it through our special "White Gift service" and children's pageant. It actually went well despite the cold.
The theme for our afternoon program was "Invitation to a Miracle" and I had to laugh as I thought to myself, "It will take a miracle for the heat to come on in time." I'm sad to say that the heat never made an appearance until the closing moments of the performance.
When I went down to check on it, the guys told me that the problem was a two amp fuse. Once they replaced it the whole system came up and was running again. The truth is that it isn't the big things that trip us up. It is usually the minor, inconsequential, things that do it.
It speaks to my life. It isn't Christmas dinner that sabotaged my diet. It was the Christmas cookie. The only way to overcome these challenges is to be prepared for them. That's why I go to Weight Watchers. That's also why I go to church. It helps me focus on the little things.
I love New Year’s Day because it provides a natural place to begin again. You can put the old behind you and make a fresh start. I'm not talking about resolutions. They don't last. What I'm suggesting is much bigger. I'd like to encourage you to go deeper in your faith.
Make 2018 the year you attend worship regularly. Try keeping a devotional diary. Spend more time in prayer. Read your Bible every day. Volunteer by serving the poor. Practice generosity. Are you doing some of these things already? Great. You are off to a good start.
Happy New Year! See you in church.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly.