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Good year ahead?

Sorry! I don't know what's going to happen this year - whether it will be the turning point of the pandemic or whether there are great things on the horizon spiritually. I have some suspicions of what is to come but, like many people, I am still reeling from last year's trials and now I've added to that a Christmas and New Year seasonal break that was not what I was expecting. Sitting down to begin work again was a welcome relief - I could legitimately put a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on my door! Settling into a familiar ordered routine was strangely reassuring after the chaos of a fortnight of not being able to predict what was happening from one day to the next.

Sorry! I don't know what's going to happen this year!

Now, thanks to social media algorithms over the past few days, I keep stumbling across 'words' from various Christians who claim supernatural insight about what's ahead of us this year. So far they have all been relentlessly positive, convinced that 2022 is going to be a 'good' year in a variety of ways. I'd like to believe them but the proof is in the pudding and we won't know until December rolls in whether it's been a 'good' year or not. And even then, what is good? My 'good' may seem odd to you and your 'good' may not be what I consider good at all!

Consider this old Taoist parable about a Chinese farmer:

'Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer who lost a horse. It ran away. And all the neighbours came around that evening and said, “That’s too bad.”

And he said, “Maybe.”

The next day, the horse came back and brought seven wild horses with it. And all the neighbours came around and said, “Why that’s great, isn’t it?”

And he said, “Maybe.”

The next day his son attempted to tame one of these horses, and was riding it, and was thrown and broke his leg. And all the neighbours came around in the evening and they said, “well, that’s too bad, isn’t it?”

And the farmer said, ''Maybe.”

The next day conscription officers came around looking for people to join the army and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. And all the neighbours came around that evening and they said, “Well, isn’t that wonderful?”

And the farmer said, “Maybe.” (as told by Alan Watts)

As this parable suggests, we see only a small percentage of what is happening and we understand how events link together even less. And we certainly lack the perspective of our Creator who holds the universe together.

In Luke's Gospel Jesus was once addressed as 'Good Teacher'. The speaker probably only meant to be courteous but he enabled Jesus to challenge what he meant by 'good'.

'Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. 'No one is good - except God.' (Luke 18: 18-19 NIV)

In 2022 we can have dreams, hope for positive things to happen that are life-giving, enriching and transformative and long for God to move in extraordinary ways so that people come face to face with Jesus. But I suggest that instead of looking for the coming year to be a 'good' one, it might be a wholly more productive year if we determine rather to focus on WHO is good!

When our hearts and minds are inclined in the right direction then the very things we've longed for are more likely to happen because we will be more alert to the presence of the Holy Spirit and more willing to do what God may ask us to do.

For those of us living in rural areas it's particularly easy to be reminded of WHO we worship. All we need to do is walk outside and look up.

I hope you can find some time to do this today and that 2022 is a year in which you connect more deeply and sincerely with the Creator who holds you with love and compassion whatever this year brings.

Psalm 8

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and avenger.

When I consider the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is humanity that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Alison Griffiths

Director: Wales and South West England


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