NEW YEAR 2021
A TIME OF NEW BEGINNINGS
2020 WAS MY “ANNUS HORIBILIS”
Queen Elizabeth II speech at the Guildhall 1992: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHlEzh5ky1A
This was after the year when Windsor Castle was seriously damaged by fire, when Prince Andrew and Fergie split up, when Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips divorced and when Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince Charles decided to separate – and there was an outcry against the monarchy.
Well, 2020 has been an “Annus Horribilis” for many. Personally, it has been the worst year in my life. Collectively we have been subject to the unprecedented restrictions and consequences of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
And so we come to the dawn of a new year.
May it be a year of “New Beginnings”
May it be a time when we put behind the way things were and press ahead to way God wants things to be…
A TIME FOR NEW BEGINNINGS: ECCLESIASTES 3: 1-8
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
There is a time for everything – let this be the time we take to make a new beginning. The last service (our “Review of the Year 2020”) was a time to end – this is a time to begin – begin what?
Much “died” during 2020 – due to the pandemic many of our old ways – in our lives and in our church family “died”. A new norm is needed in 2020. Maybe even a new way of doing and being church. It is a time to be “born”. Let’s think about it.
Maybe it is a time to “uproot” many of our old ways – in our church and in our personal lives and to “plant” new seeds of life – new ways of living. Let’s think about it.
2021 maybe needs to be a time of restoration for many of us – a time when we make strides to “heal” relationships that have been harmed during 2020. Let’s think about it.
Old ways in our church and our lives need to be “torn down” and we need to work together to “rebuild” our lives and the way we are and do church. Let’s think about it.
There has been much “mourning” and “weeping” – literally over the loss of loved ones and loss of freedom and the things we were used to doing. Let 2021 be a time when we decide to “laugh” again – and maybe even “dance”! Let’s think about it.
And so, let us “gather together” after a time of being “scattered” due to not being able to physically meet together. Let us “seek” for God’s way forward in this new norm – and be willing to give up and “throw away” life-styles that are no longer right or relevant while “keeping” what is important and everlasting – such as our faith, our love and our dependence on the Word and Spirit of the Lord. Let us “mend” relationships with each other and with the Lord. Let us “love” each other and the Lord and let us “hate” the evil that is permeating our society. And let us find “peace” with ourselves, one another and with God while committing ourselves to “war” against the devil and all his ways. Let’s think about it.
Let us take away these profound verses and over the coming week decide that we are going to meditate on them daily and apply them to our lives now – as we make 2021 a year of “New Beginnings” – and let us see what we must “get rid of” and what we must now “pick up”
It is a time to lift our eyes up to heaven and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Christ.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121: 1-2)
HOW COMMITTED ARE YOU GOING TO BE THIS YEAR?
The story is told of a chaplain of an American Football club who, struck by the lack of response to his encouragement from the players asked one of them “how am I doing?”
“Well”, replied the football star, “When our coach tells us before the game that he wants more than 100%, that he wants us to die out there for the club, that he doesn’t care if we come back to the locker room missing arms and legs, we know that he is serious. But when you ask us to think about what we can do for Jesus – well, it just doesn’t sound as if it is that important”.
Let us ask ourselves this profound and most important of questions:
Am I truly committed to Christ as I go into this new year?
If the answer causes us concern then let us re-commit ourselves to Him right now and make a “New Beginning”.
So, what is my challenge to me and to you for this New Year of 2021?
- To make a NEW BEGINNING – a decision to RENEW your relationship with God, A decision to RENEW your commitment to living for Him, serving Him and knowing Him
- To make a NEW BEGINNING – a decision to RESTORE your relationship with God through a deepening life of prayer, immersing yourself in the Word of God, being filled with the Spirit of God; a decision to RESTORE your relationships with one another after a very difficult year, so that we might grow and go together in God this year
POSTSCRIPT: “FIRST IN MY LIFE”
It was in 1981 that the Christian band “New Beginnings” released an album called “Change of Heart” that included a track that was to quickly become one of my favourite songs of all time – “First in my life”.
As I long for this year to be a time of “New Beginnings” it is this song that reminds me of the only way that this can be – for me and for you.
He HAS to be first in my life in order for there to be the turn-around in life that I need this year to be.