Looking back to last year’s magazine, I can see that I mentioned 2020 vision and that it is not always easy to see the way ahead…. Hah!
Well 2020 was about to surprise us all and not in a good way. It has been, quite frankly, a hell of a year! And as I write this concern is increasing about the new and yet more infectious strain of COVID19 that is sweeping the country. Christmas has been incredibly constrained and it seems highly likely that we will have to undergo another lockdown in the New Year.
I hope not, but logic tells me that even given the limited amount of socialising that will take place across the holiday season, the infection and hospitalisation rates are likely to climb again.
But we do have the Vaccine! Hallelujah! And well done to all those scientists and medical professionals who are working so hard to bring this to us. Let us hope that it becomes the game-changer we are all so desperately seeking. But its effects will not be begun to be felt until around Easter at the most optimistic, so we have several more months ahead of on-line worship and constrained socialisation to come.
It seems to me that Church has changed irrevocably in the last nine to 10 months. And in some ways that may be a good thing. It is worth reminding ourselves, however, that God has not changed and does not waver in His love for us.
God is present with the hard-pressed doctors and nurses staffing our ICU departments and hospitals.
God is present with those patients struggling to breathe.
God is present with the young people uncertain what their schooling or college life will look like this coming year, or whether or not they will be sitting the expected exams.
God is present with those small business people, worried about staying afloat.
God is present with the unemployed or under-employed.
So whatever 2021 has or has not in store for us, we can look towards the future, confident that God still believes in us – even if, at times, it is hard to maintain our faith in him.
At New Year I always feel that our Methodist colleagues have the best approach, so I am shamelessly going to borrow their renewal of covenant prayer which is often used at this time of year…
A covenant with God
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
Iet me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
Iet me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and l am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be
ratified in heaven.’
(The Methodist Covenant Prayer)
Every blessing for 2021 – may it be happy and healthy for us all