2010 Letter No 01
Each month Bill writes a pastor's letter for our monthly church magazine called 'The Messenger'. Here is the letter for January 2010:
January is a time for New Year’s resolutions – people determining to improve their lives in some way by changing their behaviour for the better. This is good as far as it goes. I’m all for fathers deciding to spend more time with their children, smokers deciding to cut down on their tobacco consumption and motorists deciding to heed the speed limits. But the fresh starts they offer are limited.
New Year’s resolutions can do nothing about what has already occurred. While it is good when a father spends more time with his teenage children that cannot turn the clock back to the years when as toddlers they felt neglected by an absent parent. When people give up smoking they improve their life-expectancy, but some of the damage to their health is irreversible. The driver who on 1st January decides to keep her speed down is not exempt from paying the fine when a letter comes from the Police with evidence for a speeding offence committed in December.
The fresh start offered by the gospel is a much more radical one, because it deals with our past. We are not just offered a new path ahead, but the footprints of our past mistakes, failures and sins are erased from God’s sight. When I get gravy down my shirt I need a clean shirt, not merely advice and help on how to avoid getting more gravy on my shirt in the future.
I am immensely grateful that in Jesus Christ my past is forgiven, my future is secure and my present is blessed with the presence of God. It is in him and only in him that real fresh starts can be made.
Happy New Year!
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