Subject: Redeemer Downtown Devotional Year 2012

Dear Redeemer Downtown,

     As New Yorkers, we understand the seasonality of life. Throughout the year, there is a rhythm to urban living that we sometimes follow joyfully, other times unwittingly and still other times with great resistance (!), and yet this pattern undeniably shapes our existence as New Yorkers. It shapes our moods, what we do, what we wear, who we socialize with, what we eat, how we work and our outlook toward life in the City. For me, the New Year is signified by a traditional Japanese meal with Kyoko’s parents, spring by the return to quotidian banter with my doormen about who will top the AL East (in seven years, we have yet to agree), summer by a lobster roll in the Village (strangely enough, the end of summer is marked in the same way, though usually accompanied by a wistful sigh and moment of silence) and the start of the holiday season by jostling with the crowds with my daughter and son to see the balloons the night before the Thanksgiving Day parade.

     Christians of many cultures and eras have long used the church calendar as a way to overlay their lives with spiritual “seasons” that have a specific focus: anticipation during Advent, the incarnation in Epiphany, self-examination for Lent and resurrection and new life during Easter. The calendar frames more than general spiritual awareness; rather, it traces the life, death, and resurrection of Christ so that, through seasons of denial (Lent), newness (Easter) and life in the Spirit (Pentecost), our lives are lived in the same pattern as Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote about how we suffer, are crucified, died, are buried and raised to live with Christ (Romans 6:3-11). Just as our daily lives are shaped by the seasons in New York City, they can be formed by common spiritual seasons.

     Over the next year, you’ll be receiving a weekly devotional that will provide spiritual “seasons” for our year, based largely on the Christian tradition of a liturgical year. Please don’t be afraid of words like “tradition” and “liturgical year” if they have not previously been part of your experience! The purpose of this devotional is to guide your spiritual life and signify various spiritual seasons in the same way that we have traditions to signify the start of summer, the New Year and the coming of spring.

     As a Downtown congregation, not only will this spiritual calendar connect us with the Church throughout the world and through history, it will connect us with others within our congregation. Each Friday you’ll receive a devotional writing on a passage from the Bible, along with a written prayer to help you to pray through that week of the season. In the near future, we’re also planning to incorporate the work of Downtown photographers to help connect your spiritual rhythm with the rhythms of Downtown life. Though we do not yet have regular public worship that connects us to one another physically, this calendar is intended to unite us through our regular private worship.

     It’s my hope and prayer for you that you are having a happy new year as well as a year of spiritual newness as you read through these devotionals with us.

John Lin
Downtown Lead Pastor
Redeemer Presbyterian Church

 

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