Happy New Year everyone.
A collection of photos to wish you all well in 2018
This is actually one of y favourite photos from my album. It was taken in the Holy Land in 2014 when we stopped in a restaurant for some food. Each table was given a pitcher of this horrible looking green ‘stuff’. No one was quite sure what to do, or try it, until someone plucked up the courage to have a go. Turned out to be delicious home made lemonade (very lemony and very sugary). It was delicious.
My prayer for everyone of my family and friends is that this year they may find that those dubious things which look worrying or anxiety filled, may turn out to be hidden sources of refreshment; that our fears may actually be moments of growth because of the beauty of the moment.
Again, one of my favourite pictures, taken whilst walking somewhere (cant remember where !). It reminds me that moving on in life involves putting one foot in front of the other, even if we don’t know where its leading us. Its risk-taking but its full of wonderful surprises.
My prayer is that each one of us will be able to grasp life as a pilgrimage, exciting at times, fearsome at others, full of joy and full of sorrow, but always moving forward and walking with our Lord Jesus Christ as we do so. I love the poem “footprints in the sand” but several years ago came across another verse which speaks of the footprints being all mixed up with the words “thats when I danced with you”. May 2018 be the year when we truly dance with Jesus.
And on the subject of taking risks, this was a photo taken during our holiday on Orkney (must go back one day). We’d had a day visiting the Tomb of the Eagles, otherwise known as Isbister Chambered Cairn.
The only entry and exit to the tomb was to lie on a small wooden trolley and pull yourself in and out. Both scary and comical this was a picture of me exiting the tomb, in a most undignified way with everyone laughing at me. The scary bit was in case I got stuck part way in or out, as I couldn’t see them wanting to dismantle a 5000 year old tomb just to get me out !
I pray that this year will see us (and the Church) not getting stuck in a rut of “we’ve always done it that way, but be truly prepared to try something new. The experience of the tomb of the eagles was fabulous and Im so glad I took the risk of getting stuck (!). May this year be full of more fabulous and memorable experiences for each one of us, but it will only happen as long as we stop saying”but I’ve (we’ve) always done it that way”
A year of work; may 2018 be an active and productive year. Maybe this is a hope for me because its not for me to speak on behalf of others. However this is a photograph of myself during a visit to Romania. As many of you know Alison and I travel over each year to try and offer a little bit of help to our friends Alex and Heather in the village of Poiana Constanta. Ive come to love this place (although health and finance may prevent us from going much longer) and I always consider it a privilege to be engaged in helping other peoples lives.
In a similar way I try to help the local YMCA each year in their work amongst the homeless of this area.
I think that my prayer is that I will have further opportunities in 2018 to help improve the lives of others, as I’m convinced God has improved mine.
So that you have a few random thoughts on my hopes for 2018 but quite how random are they actually ?
I don’t think that hopes for ongoing refreshment, dancing, being undignified and being helpful are actually all that unconnected, because they all speak of being constantly renewed, reinvigorated, rechallenged as we journey on.
My thoughts turn to the pilgrims on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35 where the disciples sought spiritual refreshment from the stranger in their midst and found the most beautiful of encounters. In that encounter their hearts danced with joy, running all the way back to Jerusalem in an undignified haste late at night and helping the other disciples to move on themselves in the Lord.
God is always moving us forward when we let him; may 2018 be our year of moving on.
Happy New Year