January 2022: From The Minister’s Resolutions
Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you will find many things to enjoy in the next twelve months, I pray that each of us will receive many blessings as individuals and as a Church.
This year we seem to be dragging some of our heavy loads from the last twelve months into the next. Covid is still not packing its bags and many people packed theirs but got nowhere. Hopefully 2022 will be better. Just tell yourselves something’s can be relied on, the moon will follow its course, the sea will run its tides and Temple Street will have road works. Something’s never change.
Last year had its events; a lot of things didn’t happen. We were not certain we wanted to go to church or the cinema when they reopened. Vaccination moved a pace and the church finances also needed some injection. The building was found to have a myriad of problems. Everything from heat to floors to alarms and roofing needed ‘the laying on of money’. They got it too! The generosity of members and help from the Circuit was one of the year’s blessings in my book and the work of F and P delivered a way forward through problems that seemed set to overwhelm the work here. I am truly grateful to all involved.
Last year also marked a time when decision making became more distant and hidden in Government, community and organisations including our own in some respects. There are sound reasons for shortening the decision apparatus in a national crisis like war or Covid. Letting it happen at other times should always be scrutinized and resisted. Due purpose may sometimes be irritating but its a protection we should not throw out.
At the start of a New Year we may well wonder what lies around the corner, life can know many uncertainties. On those days, look at what can be relied upon, the changing seasons, the wonder of creation, the kindness of many in our community, the excellence of many who work to benefit humankind. Life is good and when people work together we can do so much good.
Now you may be impressed by the above statement which shows the sort of spiritual maturity you would hope for in clergy. Sadly I have to tell you there are those times when the above relaxation method is drowned out by very mundane irritants that hamper everyone’s life - including mine. Appointment times, deadlines, worries and fears, they all gain importance if not corrected. We often find ourselves too distracted to correct these barriers to serenity. This should not however give us a licence to worry or accept what is delivered rather than that which was arranged.
The Bible discourages fears and worries on numerous occasions but that may not actually help us to achieve freedom from our hang-ups. Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18 but by chapter 19 he was running scared of the threat of death from Jezebel. So even great people of faith have their off-days. If you look at the dialogue between Elijah and the “heavenly intervention”, you may note that the heavenly intervention is having non of it. God strengthened Elijah and directed Elijah there was not a blinding flash and an end to the problems. The prophet still had to face the music. Those who imagine Christianity wipes out stresses, strains and calamities will soon seek a refund I am sure. Elijah though found heart in Gods presence, in conversation and in trusting God even in the difficult times. Last year we did trust God for the church repairs and he blessed us. Now we need to put it all to good use for our faith, our community and the Project now under way.
Hopefully your experiences for the year ahead will know many blessings. You should seek times of being uplifted but for the days that are not ‘fun–filled’ in any year, try thinking of Elijah. Think of the certainties alluded to in this article and remember that all things come to pass – eventually!