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From The Chaplain's Desk
January 2015 Chaplain's Corner

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  JANUARY 6, 2015 --

The month of January gets its name from the Roman god Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and one looking back.  In our Grange ritual the Overseer in the fourth degree gives the charge, “Cultivate the habit of looking for better and brighter days, instead of mourning over the past.”  Notice the use of the word “habit”.

This is the time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions, in many cases resolving to correct imperfections in our behavior or habits, such as resolving to lose weight or quit smoking, or finally to get around to cleaning out the garage [I resolved to do this five years in a row before I finally got around to doing it].

But just as important as trying to change those habits which affect our physical well-being is trying to change those habits which affect those with whom we come in contact.  Do other people find you to be someone who is enjoyable to be around, or do they find you morose or argumentative or constantly complaining?  Scattered throughout our Grange ritual are reminders about how we should interact with other people.  In the same Overseer’s charge which I mentioned at the beginning of this article is the further instruction, “While you strive to make labor honorable, exert yourself to make it pleasant and cheerful for all around you.”

But are my life-long habits unbreakable?  Can I change?  Can I resist the temptation to return to my old habits?  St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians says:  “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.l  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

And in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:  “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

So let us resolve,  in this coming year, not only to shed our old bad habits but also to cultivate new and better habits, especially in the attitudes we use when we interact with other people.


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