January 2017 From The Minister's Diary
Most years have their share of things that were not supposed to happen - violence, war or disaster. 2016 does not seem to have had much to please us, even our beloved Bake Off went for a Burton. That said the earth turned, the sun rose and the tide went in and out.
For you personally it may not have been a bad year, for some I know the national gloom has reflected your own. Some have found this a testing time and that does not always end with the chimes of Big Ben. Sometimes our woes can be ‘enhanced’ by the terrors on the national and international stage. The News brings multiple horrors to our living room that make us despair. The effects of war on the children in Syria reduced one of our longstanding newsreaders to tears live on air a few months ago. It served as a powerful reminder that after decades of images of suffering and conflict both political and physical we can still be moved. We can also feel helpless. Some say ‘There cannot be a God if this goes on”. Well that is a quite empty sentiment for those who don’t intend looking for God.
There are two things to keep in mind. Jesus speaks of war and suffering; he maps out a world that will not grow in love and contentment. As we look around we recognise he saw this coming. But there is hope. The second thing to keep in mind is that Christians are not immune to the problems of the world. Flooding can come to everyone, illness does the rounds, tax demands come through the post and Jesus said pay them. Politics can be lethal and chaotic. Egypt’s Coptic Christian will tell you that terrorism comes to them as it has come to so many others. We are not immune. We are promised healing and freedom at the end of lives and in the years in-between there may be peace and ease or fears and terror but faith is there both.
Remembering the message of hope may prove difficult at times but Jesus is our rock and our salvation. The best is yet to come. Tyrants, thugs and storms will come and go but we are called to pray, to tell of a more holistic way of living life on earth; spending time with its Creator and live each day for others not for self. Such a change of heart has lifted many souls when the world seemed to heading over a cliff and we see in Psalms some fairly crisp ranting at God when problems came calling but we also see a deepness of faith and the struggle with trust for a better time.
Last year was not an easy one for this church but ‘that problem’ is now at an end but it dismayed us and it had cost. So I remind myself and proclaim to you God is in control, He is everything we need and He is our reason for being. So have confidence, work for the next chapter of the Kingdom here, rejoice in Christ and have joy. And pray in all things with Christ’s love.
A Happy New Year to each of you