“Life can only be understood backwards, but it can only be lived forwards.”

~ Soren Kierkegaard

Spiritual writer Clifford Rawley, on a trip to China, was journeying on the Yangtze River when he noticed an unusual sight:  old shoes floating by.  He learned these old shoes were not careless litter, but were part of a ritual of releasing the past and receiving the future.  It was explained to him “that when people suffer illness, unemployment, or divorce they let go of the past and its painful memories by putting their old shoes in the river.  With new shoes they hope to walk into a better future.”

The poet of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “There is a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens” (3:1).  For some in the global MCC community, 2018 is a time for giving birth. For others it is a time for searching.  Among us there are those living the range of times:  “a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing. . .” (3:4-5).

Wherever you find yourself during this time, life can only be lived forward.  Living forward, during low times or high times, is a choice.   It’s your turn to make the choice to live forward.  I believe that the culmination of our daily choices creates the ultimate impact of our lives.

MCC is a global community to partner with you through the seasons.  We are also here to strengthen your spiritual tools to empower you to make consistent choices for a stronger future.  We are here to support each other.  Looking ahead to 2018, what “old shoes” no longer serve you and need to be released?  What “new shoes” will help you move forward, even though they may need a “breaking in” time?

I have a spiritual practice to suggest for 2018.  Whenever you put on your shoes, take a moment to reflect on where those shoes have taken you.  Places of service? Places of joy? Places of pain?  Invite the Holy Spirit to direct your thoughts about what message your shoes hold for you.

Then, take a moment to imagine what is ahead.  Where will these shoes take you?  Who will you meet?  What opportunities will open?  How will they go with you to places of protest or resistance in the Holy Work of justice and equality?  How will you bring more love into the world?

Once your shoes are on, take a moment to feel their warmth, texture and support.  Then, as you begin to move, whether on foot or in a wheelchair, offer a prayer of gratitude, petition, or aspiration.

Every time you put on shoes, it is an opportunity for a new beginning!


Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson

Washington, DC




2017 Advent Resources