From the Parish Priest, Fr Nicholas Clews
HAPPY NEW YEAR! The first day of the year is traditionally a time for resolutions – public expressions of a determination to eat less, drink less, exercise more – or whatever it is I think I need to do.
Christians are no different from anyone else in that respect – but we might have our own angle on what we would like to do. For example. Paul, writing to the church in Thessalonica, suggested that his readers might like to resolve to
- give thanks
- pray constantly
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
I think Paul’s advice is sound and I would like to make it my own New Year’s resolution. Perhaps you might as well.
But you may say, what if there is nothing to rejoice about, nothing to give thanks for. I think both Paul and Jesus would say ‘rejoice and give thanks’ all the same. Rejoicing and giving thanks are not just reactions to the world out there. Rejoicing and giving thanks are expressions of what is in our hearts. ‘But’, you may say, ‘my heart is not full of rejoicing and thankfulness.’ I think that in those circumstances Paul and Jesus would say, ‘rejoice and give thanks’. If I express with my lips and in my actions the attitudes I most desire then, sooner or later, those attitudes will grow in my heart; and as they grow into heart so I will express them the more and as I express them more so I will change the world around me. The world is not given; it is shaped by each one of us. And God gives each one of us his Spirit to change the world for the better.
And praying constantly is how I will achieve my resolutions to rejoice and give thanks. I don’t mean that I will be calling into church every twenty minutes or rolling out my prayer-mat – although both have their place. But I do mean that I will try to be more aware of the presence of God in every minute of the day – and more aware of God in every person I meet and every situation I enter.
But I will also be aware that the key resolution is not mine but that of God. It was God who resolved to come to earth to be part of human life; it was God who resolved to die for me; it was God who resolved to fill me with his Holy Spirit – and if that is not something to rejoice over and give thanks for, I do not know what is!
Fr Nicholas Clews