Happy New Year! from Rev Matthew Price
I wonder how you feel as we embark on a New Year and, indeed, a new decade? Perhaps you feel glad to see the back of 2019. Maybe it wasn’t a great year and you are looking to the future with hope that things can only get better (surely, they can’t be any worse you say to yourself!)? Or perhaps 2019 was a great year and you enter the new year buoyed by all the good things that you experienced in the last twelve months?
I suspect the reality for most of us is that we will be somewhere in the middle of those two extreme experiences. For most of us there will have been some good and some not so good things about 2019. And our experience of 2020 - or the rest of the twenties - is likely, I suggest, to be the same
Well, as ever, it’s good to remind ourselves at the start of this new year that the Bible is realistic about the ups and downs of the human experience. The writer of Lamentations seemed to know that well when they wrote, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me” (Lamentations 3:19-20). But the writer doesn’t stop there. They continue: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23)
And this, it seems to me, is at the heart of what it means to be living the Christian life. Whether we are on top of the mountain or in the depths of the valley, the Christian hope remains the same. God’s love for us - expressed supremely in the person of Jesus - never changes in the ups and the downs. What’s more, He promises to sustain us in the good times and the bad
The challenge is to remember that - and to see God’s mercies to us (often in the small things) - whether our overall experience that day is good, or not so good!
Might we know God’s mercy in the coming year
St Mary Magdalene Church, Gorleston