Word of the Month

For the New Year

January 2003

Already the first few days of the new year have passed. In the time lying before us - most of whose contents is still concealed from us - it is important to orient ourselves continually in order to determine the proper directions for our life on earth. There is a great deal of evidence that ancient peoples were able to successfully orient themselves using simple techniques. For example, they were able to ascertain the seasons of the year and planned their lives accordingly. From the voyages of earlier times we know that a ship's crew was able to determine its position on the vast seas by the position of the stars.

For the people of God it is very important to recognize beyond all doubt where the pilgrimage is leading. There are some aids to orientation that are essential for this purpose. Our epoch is increasingly marked by uncertainty, fear, and a deterioration of venerable values - even tradition. In addition, there is a surge in distancing oneself from religious convictions, etc. On the other side, the "faith" in materialism is rampant, and man's overestimation in his capabilities has entered a phase of near-total arrogance. When we consider this development from the perspective of our faith we are reminded of the Apostle's words: "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you" (1 Peter 4:12). We are able to remain calm in the circumstances (fiery trials) that surround us today because they are under the control of the wise director of all things.

Let us orient ourselves by the eternal truths of the doctrine of Jesus, His gospel, in this unsteady and capricious time. The Holy Scripture says: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!" (Hebrews 13:8).

If we hear and accept the word of God through those sent by the Son we will find these words confirmed continually. God's word has a great illuminating power and brightens our path of faith. It always points us in the same direction, namely upward! And the sacraments give our soul the necessary certainty that we are in favour with God. There is no better orientation. That is why we gladly continue to walk the path that leads to eternal life also in the new year. After all, loyal following is rewarded in eternity!

I wish you a most blessed New Year 2003,

R. Fehr