The new dawn

the new dawn

Dear Friends,

The new dawn! A new year beckons, the horizons are clear, the pages untouched…

So we give ourselves a few resolutions which will shape and impact our experience of the future for the next few months. I think this is a good and healthy practice, especially when the resolutions are not cursory and throw-away but rather – well thought-out, with realistic and challenging tasks.

The basis for any resolution is the belief that the ‘doing’ of the resolution will make a difference. If we don’t have this, then the resolution barely gets past the first day! Yet if there is a real energy in the making of the resolution, if there is some inspiration in there, then it has every chance of making a discernible difference.

Not drinking any alcohol in the week-days, or attending a Pilates class once a week, or going to bed by a certain time each week-day night – all these just would make a positive difference to enjoyment, fulfilment and success of life on many various levels.

So it is a really worthwhile consideration – what are my serious intentions for 2018 – what can I put in place which will make discernible difference to the quality of my life. In doing this, and keeping with it, we are making a strong statement of taking control ourselves in a culture and society where we are often left feeling as though we are the behest of other people, outside events or just a roll of the dice in what turns up.

The serious intention of God is something very straightforward –  the communication of His love for the whole world – despite what kind of mess we make of it. When Christians read the Bible or pray in the stillness of the night or early morning, Christians connect with this intention. In the saying of ‘Amen’, in the repetition of Bible verses, in the simple looking at an ever-changing tree – we allow the intentions of heaven to permeate our very souls. This can only do us good – no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves in.

As we do such things we give opportunity for God’s amazing love to drop in an ever more real way into hearts – no longer is His love just an idea, but now it is made flesh in us – it becomes something real and tangible – and this changes everything.

Process of beginnings

Book with work Baptism highlighted

Dear Friends

Sometimes it’s good to go back to see how it all started. Just to refresh the memory… to get a nudge as to how it all came to be… so we have the passion for history and the stories of long ago… we have the curiosities of family trees and how the generations connect with stories mundane and extraordinary.

As we know, the bible begins with a couple of stories of how the world began. Genesis begins with the evocative cadences known only too well : ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…’ We are told the earth was ‘formless and empty, darkness over the surface of the deep’. In these words we have a picture of chaos without sense or meaning, and we are then told ‘the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters’.

From this beginning God spoke – in the Spirit over and into the chaos of no meaning and substance. And in the speaking creation was formed. God said ‘This is good!’
We are blessed in church to host many baptisms, or christenings for families across our parish. These times are gatherings of celebration as new life is held, cherished and blessed. Usually the baptisms are with young children, but not always as each year we baptize some adults as well.  In the service of baptism we have a bowl (font) of water. The Holy Spirit ‘hovers’ over the water and the water is blessed. The names of the child/adult to be christened are spoken and something new takes shape as God’s promise of a love which never ends is proclaimed. The newly baptized enters the family of the church, and so the household of heaven is enlarged and made new.

For many of us, life can often seem as though it has little meaning or purpose. It can sometimes seem a bit ‘formless’. Yet, in these times the Spirit of God is near. The Spirit of God is what gives the energy and impetus for something remarkable to be formed out of the ‘formless’. Often a word is spoken, maybe a word of encouragement, or a word of gratitude or even a word of correction – and from the word spoken ‘in the Spirit’ something new is created.

In many ways this ‘process of beginnings’ sums up the ministry of the church. The society we live in – even though it is policy driven, regulated and scrutinised from every angle – is scarily formless and chaotic. So much of existence is simply getting through the day, with so many petty arguments and rivalries. The connecting thread which provides meaning and purpose is rarely visible, and so for many the idea of being ‘happy’ is living in dreamland.

Yet, over society, the Spirit of God hovers. The Spirit is uniquely present and waits for the word to be spoken. And this time the word is spoken through our lips, from our hearts and out of the overflow of the blessings of God in heaven. We as members of the church, hear God’s word into our hearts, we speak this word (through what we do, say and always in who we are) – and then something wonderfully new takes place – a heart is enlarged, a life is blessed, a possibility becomes real, a promise is fulfilled…
And God in heaven acclaims over and over again, ‘This is good!’

The family of God is called to be near the formless, chaotic bits of life, to sense the presence of the Spirit, to hear the word of the Lord and to speak it from the abundance of a heart of love. And always, always, it will be good…