Looking back, looking forward and standing on the rock between
I’m old enough to remember King George’s wonderful Christmas message of 1939 when he spoke those memorable words to our nation, “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year give me a light that I may go out into the darkness, he said, put your hand into the hand of God and that will be better than any light or any known way.”
As a nation then, after four months of the “phony war” we had no idea what might happen to us in the years ahead, but what wonderful advice, and it stands as true today as it did all those years ago.
When you read this Christmas will be over and all our personal and fellowship excitements and celebrations, the parties, Carols by Candlelight, the Crib service and the Christmas morning on in the Parish Church. It will be New Year’s Eve and none of us knows what lies ahead. So we can look back over the year.
We can look back personally, as a church, fellowship and scripturally. Individually so much has happened. Several of us have been in and out of hospital, many visit to health centres and countless pills swallowed! There have been holidays and happy days, sad days and painful ones, a number of deaths, funerals and thanksgiving services. Beryl and I came to the conclusion that before it would be too late we have to face the fact that we needed to move somewhere nearer the shops, banks, our building society and easily available transport before the time came when we couldn’t drive and have the physical and mental strength to face the work involved.
Then we can look back scripturally to the Old Testament. We can’t fully understand the new testament with all its promises of redemption, the sufferings of Christ and the second coming of our Lord unless we read and link it up with the events of the Old Testament. There we read of the perfect world that God created and of how Adam and Eve personified the original sin that caused the rupture between God and human kind. We read about the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; of Moses and the exodus.
We read of the blood on the door posts, the Passover then the exodus, the destruction and the re-building of Jerusalem and the return of the exiles. Then later of prophesies of Isiah, Hosea, Micah, Habbakkuk and Malachi as they foresaw the coming of the Messiah. That’s why, over the years, we’ve benefited from our bible studies with David and Peter.
We can look back over the past year with thanksgiving as a church fellowship. Following David’s retirement after ten years of faithful bible teaching we had the joy of celebrating the induction of Pastor Caroline on august 5th, and all that has followed in her ministry. We’ve enjoyed the Messy Church activities, the link with Beavers, Cubs and scouts, the blessing of the banners and the united Remembrance services in the Parish Church and on the green. The closer working and worshipping relationships with other church fellowships in the village is something we should all thank God for.
Then we can look forward with Paul for he begins his letter to the Romans with these words – Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of Christ, the gospel he promised beforehand through the prophets in the scriptures regarding his Son. So we look forward in and with the scriptures. We read on with the birth of Jesus as we so recently celebrated, the visits of the lowest and the highest in society to worship and acknowledge Him. We read and learn from his parables and His teaching as we read the gospels, then of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross. His blood a reminder of the blood on the doors of the Passover night, and that we remember in our communion service and of the broken body as we take the bread. Then the glorious day of resurrection when we celebrate Easter, Whitsun and the coming of the Holy Spirit which led to the growth of the world wide church, the body of Christ on earth of which we are a part.
So we can look forward with hope and excitement to 2018 as we plan for the future with new ideas for joint Lent bible studies, the 12 Stations of the Cross at the Parish Church, perhaps a Palm Sunday procession and other exciting ideas of ways forward. The Watoto choir coming and the probability of a Family/Youth worker to help with the joint fellowships.
So much to look back at. So much to look forward to, yet all of that not certain. None of us knows what God has in store for us in the year ahead. But one thing is certain if we have truly given our lives to Him, though we will all fail at times, we can stand on the Rock today, between the past and the future. Psalm 27v5 says “He shall set me upon a rock.” Psalm 31v3 “Thou art my rock” and 1.Corinth 10v4 “That rock was Christ.” So whatever happens in 2018, nothing can shake our faith or our future if we stand on that rock, the rock of salvation.
May God bless us all