UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
News from St Andrew’s
Craig’s January message
Revd Craig Bowman
A new year approaches, and with it all sorts of hopes, expectations and fears. What will the next few months bring to us as individuals and as a church?
No doubt some things will be easier to foresee than others. Spring will come and with it warmer and drier days - good news for many. Easter will be celebrated - when the true value of Christmas is more clearly seen.
Having left the European Union the transitional arrangements will end and it will be a very different relationship with our near neighbours. Other things will be harder to predict: illness, upset, unemployment, new jobs, new friendships and unexpected blessings may be lying in wait for some or many of us.
What a good job it is we don’t know exactly what the future holds for us. If we did there would be no surprises. There would be no moments of joy when we are on the receiving end of an unexpected kindness or thoughtfulness of another. What’s more, we would spend an inordinate amount of our time worrying about the upsets that we knew were coming.
This time last year none of us would have foreseen the year ahead. Spring came but our celebrations of Easter were very different, and the opportunity to visit our near neighbours was very limited.
2020 will forever be remembered as the year the world grappled with Covid-19 and normal life was disrupted in so many ways: work was suspended or lost, travel was curtailed, celebrations were cancelled, simple hugs were denied and friends and family members haven’t been seen for well over half a year.
What a good job it is we don’t know exactly what the future holds for us. People would spend so much time worrying about what is coming. But many do that anyway - their lives are dominated by fear of what tomorrow or the day after will bring.
For some the future is full of hope and looking beyond the present does give them the strength to grapple with the challenges of the here and now. But for too many people the fear of the future means they never really live in the present. Worry about what may be around the corner takes away from the present any enjoyment that might be found there.
Jesus himself told us not to worry unduly about the future for God would provide for our needs, just as he does for the birds (Luke 12:22-31). This shouldn’t lead us to laziness or idleness - to sit back and let God do it all for us. It is an encouragement to live in the present. To deal with the priorities of the here and now, and to enjoy what we do have, rather than to spend our energy and resources worrying about what might be, some time in the future.
That is my prayer for all of us as we go into this new year - that we will be able to live in the present, dealing with the priorities of the moment, and enjoying the blessings that are to be found in each and every day.
May God bless you all in the year ahead.
The Revd Craig Bowman is minister of St Andrew’s Cheam and Wallington United Reformed Churches
Posted on 1 Jan 2021