I don’t know about you but I found 2016 rather shocking! Three times in 2016 I went to bed expecting one result and woke up to find out that the pollsters had been outwitted by the voters!
But what will 2017 hold? No doubt more of the same! There will be things that shock us, things that please us, things that disappoint us and things that depress us. There will be births and deaths, illnesses and recoveries, successes and failures, spring and summer, times of war and times of peace. Even many of the ‘discoveries’ in 2017 will be things previous generations knew all too well.
And so it all begs the question: what is life all about? Where can we find real meaning, lasting pleasure and hopes that do not disappoint? Those are questions we all grapple with from time to time — although if we are honest, not as often as we should. They are questions about the nature of life and what it means to be human and the answers shape our life here and for all eternity.
That’s why over the coming 2 months we’ll be looking at the book of Ecclesiastes in our Sunday morning sermons. We’ll think about time, money, pleasure, love and consider the challenges of a life without God and the challenges of a life with God. My hope is that as we grapple honestly with these issues we might all act wisely, living life to the full, as God intended. That might mean a change of direction and if so, I hope we’ll all be brave enough to take it.
In Church we also have some decisions to make. After our Church Away Day the PCC has begun to put together our next Mission Action Plan. This will be finalised over the next 3 months and presented to the church at the APCM before the end of April, but I suspect we will be asking for your thoughts on a couple of important issues before then. Our plans for the building are a part of the MAP and are being taken forward. We will keep you up to date with progress.
All of this planning is good, but for the church to grow and flourish we need to make sure we are growing in faith ourselves. Our sermons and services week by week will continue to be shaped and directed by the Bible, and that is vital, but so is our own personal walk of faith. Let’s all resolve to go ‘deeper into God’ this year — not least because in a world which constantly shocks and dismays us, the God of the Bible stands unchanging and infinitely loving, and offers us his peace and joy.
And getting to know him better would make 2017 a year to remember!