By NEDDIE WINTERS
Past blessings, future grace
The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, who was usually depicted as a man with two faces. One face looked back into the year that had passed, and the other face looked forward into the new year. The face looking back bore traces of sorrow, dismay and perplexity; the face looking forward personified hope and confidence.
During this time of the year, I cannot help looking back and taking stock. When I look back, I have cause for thankfulness for how God has answered prayers despite the past year’s disappointments, dismay and difficulties. I can thank God and take courage for a new year! When I look back, I can thank God for the fulfillment of repeated prayers around our state and nation
Someone said to me, “Mission Mississippi is bringing a lot of people together to do a lot of praying, but things are still bad.” My answer was, just think how bad it would be if we were not praying. Thank God for the fulfillment of answered prayers through the weekly and monthly prayer gatherings around the state; the Legislative Prayer Breakfast, the Governor’s Leadership Prayer Luncheon, the Living Reconciled Celebration, and Living Reconciled Celebration Month, just to highlight a few of Mission Mississippi’s accomplishments in 2019.
These opportunities to connect people and cultivate relationships result in changing lives. When lives change, conditions change, and when conditions change, circumstances change. When conditions and circumstances change, communities change. The reality of connecting people, cultivating relationships, and changing lives is not just a slogan but a life transformation, which results in community transformation.
Some Mission Mississippi Moments for me in 2019 included witnessing Christians of different races praying together, different denominations praying with and for one another, and different political affiliations laying aside their differences and praying together during the Legislative Prayer Breakfast and the Governor’s Leadership Prayer Luncheon; witnessing high-school and college students not only praying together but participating in deep dialogue about racial, political and other controversial issues with a commitment to continue the conversation and work together to resolve the issues; and witnessing churches and communities coming together in community-wide worship services and dialogues, which resulted in commitments to meet together and build trustful, respectful and truthful relationships over the next 12 months.
When I reflect on the fulfillment of repeated prayers not only in 2019 but over the past 26 years of Mission Mississippi, it gives me great cause to pause and thank God, and to remember that He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” WOW.
I look forward to 2020 and beyond with great courage, “being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work (through Mission Mississippi will complete it.” The word “courage” means good cheer, boldness and confidence. It is a Christian quality that enables a person to do significant things and at the same time endure suffering.
I look forward to God doing a new thing through Mission Mississippi as we embark upon a new year. I look forward to God helping Mission Mississippi continue connecting people, cultivating relationships, and changing lives to transform relationships an communities through living reconciled. I look forward to deepening Mission Mississippi’s footprints in communities across the state through regional gatherings in partnership with the Christian community, pastors, churches and local leaders.
Let us begin 2020 with great courage by praying together during January. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
You can visit our website, missionmississippi.org, for additional information on events and gatherings to pray together. #PRAYTOGETHER
Neddie Winters is president of Mission Mississippi, an organization dedicated to racial reconciliation within the body of Christ. A proud alumnus of Alcorn State University, Neddie lives in Clinton with his wife, Tommie.