Although it seems a long time ago, this is my first magazine article of the year, so it’s right that first of all I wish you all a happy new year and thank you all for everything that you did over Christmas (which seems absolutely ages ago now).
I’ve been asked a few times if I’m making any New Years’ Resolutions and the answer has always been no! By the time this newsletter is published it’s probable that if I had made any I’d have broken them by now anyway. Sometimes the start of a new year can be a good time to remind of what we should be doing anyway, and the readings from the start of the gospels that have followed Christmas and that we’ve had in January have emphasised what’s important about following Jesus.
Shortly, on Wednesday 14th February, it will be Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent and a chance to look at how we live in the example and imitation of Jesus. It’s a time to remember that sometimes we can over complicate things, and it’s a good chance to focus on what’s important. Mike is fond of an old Baptist preacher, CH Spurgeon, who urged his congregation to “keep the main thing the main thing!” He urged them to keep Jesus at the centre of their lives and remember that when asked about ‘the most important command’ Jesus spoke about loving God and loving our neighbour.
Easter arrives at the very start of April this year and imagine how good it will be to say that we’ve not made just a new year’s resolution to be kept for a few weeks in January, but instead we’ve taken up the pattern of living the Jesus life. One writer said, “we don’t live by what we have, but by what we have been promised.” God has made us a promise of life being rich, as we heard over Christmas and Epiphany, and now in the simplicity of the season of Lent, when church thinks about a less complex pattern of life, we can serve and love him remembering the promises he has made for the future.