Another year of Grace gobbled by ‘Tock Tic’ has me looking in the mirror and wondering who this glaikit guy staring back at me is. Reflecting on 2021 I’m immensely grateful for God’s provision and providence. Personally, August saw our third grandchild ‘Summer Joy’ brighten us and our youngest ‘Zoe Joy’ enliven us with her marriage to ‘Zak’. Presbytery wide we saw our 6 pioneer projects boosted by 6 new part-time mission pioneers (and a team leader) employed to encourage and enable these outreaches to flourish. In our Fullarton community and Irvine town we have seen great resilience and determination to look out for one another and more than survive pandemic. In Fullarton Church we’ve lost some legend saints to Glory, but are very grateful to see people coming back into Connexions to work and worship together, despite pings, isolations and regular set-backs. Mercy! Who’d heard of a Lateral Flow and PCR Tests before 2021?
Sadly, my Killie team dropped a division and sacked their manager, Scotland bounced out of the Euros, but hope is alive for them reaching the Qatar 2022 World Cup. My Strava tells me I’ve cycled 3,968 miles and scaled 212,854 feet. The John Muir Way (Helensburgh to Dunbar), Bealach na Ba (Applecross) and Bealach Ratagan (Glenelg) were clear highlights. A year of #60secspeedbumps / #60secondsermons kept me alert to God’s minute by minute presence and the Forge Mission Pioneer course stretched me further in thought and desire to reach beyond walls with the Love of Christ.
Time feels all the more precious as you realise you’re much closer to death than birth! On into 2022, I see the Big 6 “Oh Help Ma Boab!” looming and huge challenge and opportunity in the Presbytery plan for mission. Our town and communities face huge tests in the wake of pandemic. I am an eternal optimist with high hopes for 2022, but such positive thinking is tempered by two Latin words, ‘Deo Volente’, God Willing. In days gone by people signed letters off with D.V., qualifying their intentions, plans, hopes & dreams with humble awareness that all things are under God’s design, purposes & plan. Insha’Allah is how Muslims & some Christians in the Middle East & Africa put it.
James’ words challenge me to allow God in, to sort & sift my 2022 preview:
“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:13-17, MSG)
I must beware living my life at 100 mph, fighting fires, and responding to the urgent, rather than listening to God through The Bible, trusted friends, experience & The Spirit’s ‘still small voice’. And so, I commit myself afresh to seeking God’s Will, not my own will, which may make ‘good sense’, but which easily misses the ‘Best Choices’, which will realise God’s purpose more powerfully in the long run.
On behalf of my wife, family, faith-community & self, I wish you God’s Very Best: in, to and through you in 2022!