I wonder if you have ever heard of Bjarni Herjulfsson? He was the captain of a Viking ship in 986 A.D. He crossed the Atlantic on his way to visit his father in Greenland. But his ship got pummeled by storms and he went off course, getting lost.
After the storm was over, he found land. This was not Greenland, but the coast of North America. But Bjarni decided to not get off the ship because he was anxious to visit his father. So he turned around and sailed back, finding Greenland.
Several years later, he told his friend, Leif Ericksson, about his journey. Ericksson decided to retrace Bjarni’s trip and he became the first European to set foot in North America.
Many people today have heard of Leif Ericksson. But hardly anyone knows about Bjarni Herjulfson, the Viking who could have become a world-famous explorer. All he had to do was get off the boat!
Today we stand at the beginning of a new year. This new year might present us with new opportunities and adventures.
My prayer today is that God will give us courage to face the future and to not be afraid to get out of the boat . . . to be willing every once in a while to take a risk . . . to try something new. My prayer is that God will give us courage and wisdom in this new year.
May God's blessings be upon our community, upon all of our churches, our homes and families, and upon our personal lives throughout 2017. Happy New Year!