I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, remembering Jesus coming to us, and that you managed to find time among the busy-ness of this season to take time to relax and recuperate.
I also hope you have found yourselves blessed as we begin this new year of 2017. For many, 2016 was a difficult year, and some may be glad to see the back of it. You may be looking ahead to 2017 full of expectant hope, believing this will be a better year. Unfortunately, we have no guarantees of this: only God truly knows what lies in store for us. This, of course, brings us comfort; but it can also be a little unsettling. None of us truly know what our futures hold.
It is with that in mind that we began 2017 in ClincarthillChurch by focusing on Psalm 46, specifically the following verse:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NIVUK)
This is a very important verse for me. It reminds me that the God in whom we believe is one of comfort: we can approach Him and find in Him safety and security. He gives us strength, and helps us through those things with which we struggle. And, perhaps most importantly, He is always with us! No matter what 2017 holds, this is the reality of God, and I hope and pray you find in Him these things.
This year in ClincarthillChurch, our main priority is discerning what kind of Church God needs us to be in this community. I believe this is the right thing for us to do for two reasons. Firstly, I believe God has a specific purpose for us, and we need to listen to Him to know what that is. Secondly, our community has specific needs, and we need to know what these are before we can respond to them, as God requires us to do.
While we are taking this time to reflect together, I wonder if we can make Psalm 46:1 our verse for the year, and allow it to shape everything we do as a Church. Can our Church be a place in our community where people find refuge and strength? Will we be present to those who need help? And, ultimately, will we point to the one who is the ultimate source of refuge and strength, and who is truly ever-present in times of trouble?
These are challenging questions, but I hope we can say a collective “yes!” as we focus ourselves and our work on God for this coming year. God bless you!