Happy New Year!
The past few days have brought the usual end of year “Looking back, looking forwards” articles on TV, Radio, online and in the press. Since 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War, there will be many opportunities in the year to look back and look forward.
Notably at the outset of 1918 - on 6th January - King George V called a national day of prayer in order to ‘bring our cause to God’. By that time most people of faith knew The Lord was NOT on anyone’s side and both had done wrong. 6th January is a significant date - often called Epiphany (meaning a revelation or “light bulb moment”) recalling the visit of the Wise Men to Jesus fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 49:6, “I will also give you as a light to the nations, that you may bring salvation to the farthest place of the earth."
Those who believe Jesus came to reveal to us the human face of God know that in a mixed up meddled world we all need to look back and admit where we’ve gone wrong and look forward In hope. In 2018, I’d invite you to start the year speaking and listening to God in prayer for those you love and for our nation “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:79)
Prayers are not always answered quickly. For those enduring the agony of the WWI it did not quickly end. On 4th August 1918 King George V called another national day of prayer; 99 days passed and on the 100th day the war ended.
This year, The Methodist Church has committed to take part in Hope 2018, organised by The Hope Trust - www.hopetogether.org.uk. This encourages churches to work together in words and actions to help this same Jesus be known- an “epiphany” for 2018 maybe?
As part of this Hope 2018 are inviting our nation to mark once again the 99 days before Armistice Day on Sunday 11th November 2018, by praying for peace in the world but also peace in the hearts of men and women, that they might be reconciled to God through Jesus.
In a world marked by division I’m sure we all yearn for peace - I invite you to ask Jesus “The Prince of Peace” to bring His peace; in a world suffering the consequences of wrongdoing I invite you to ask Jesus the Saviour to bring the forgiveness and transformation he offers us AND ask that you will embody that message in your life “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
Now imagine if we do that – then 2018 will be a year to remember!