New Year’s Greetings to the Methodist and Wesleyan Family from WMC Vice-President
Some people think that the slide from Sunday, December 31st, into Monday, January 1st, is just a matter of one day over and another begun – and there is some truth in that. For many, however, it is a time to reflect, to remember and to pray.
How was 2017 for you and for those who are part of your life? Were there moments of sadness as well as of joy? Times of challenge as well as of success? Flashes of anger as well as of love? Times when you felt like giving up as well as times when you felt that the whole world was on your side? If so, then you’re very like the rest of us! And it is highly probably that 2018 will be much the same, at least in principle.
Right at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, we are told that the baby Mary is carrying is to be called ‘Immanuel’, ‘God with us.’ And the Gospel concludes with the same thought: ‘Surely, I am with you always’. We are assured that, whatever happens, God is with us.
Being thus assured, it is our responsibility to live courageous and prophetic lives, upholding the Law of Love, speaking for the voiceless, defending the vulnerable, caring for God’s creation. I believe that those are the New Year’s resolutions we need to make, both as individuals and as ‘the people called Methodist.’
As this is being written, we are approaching what would be the 310th birthday of Charles Wesley (December 18th). On one occasion, he wrote a hymn commemorating the day; it has twelve verses and is probably not sung very often. Nevertheless, we are challenged by his thinking as, in personal terms, he moves from one year to another at the same time as we move from one year to another in calendar terms. The final verse is an appropriate prayer of dedication for us all as we commit ourselves to living to God’s praise and glory. I leave it with you and wish you all, wherever you are, every blessing and strength for 2018 and for all that it may bring.
My remnant of days
I spend in his praise,
Who died the whole world to redeem:
Be they many or few,
My days are his due,
They all are devoted to him!