Ring out the old, ring in the new…
…so says Tennyson in his poem, “In Memoriam” and in Scotland that is certainly how the passing of one year and the arrival of a new year is marked. “What are you doing for The Bells?” is the normal question around here, meaning, “How are you seeing in the New Year?”
Some folk find a new year exciting, full of potential, a clean slate, a snowy hillside waiting for us to make our footprints…
…Others find the transition difficult and challenging. Memories can be overwhelming; missed opportunities accuse us, the sense of losing something we can’t re-capture can be strong. Yesterday afternoon Andrew and I were glad to welcome 30+ folk from across the circuit for nibbles and conversation; it was good to connect with people at a time of transition.
This morning, as I was trying to formulate thoughts about this coming year, I tuned in to the Radio 4 Sunday Worship, as I almost always do, and, to my great inspiration, found John Bell from the Iona Community speaking, and speaking to me! Do listen here if you can. What struck me most was, in his brief reflection on Lot’s wife, the words “God does not want our future to be held ransom to our past”.
The closing prayers were punctuated with a short John Bell song and these are the words I want to take into 2017: “Take, oh take me as I am, summon out what I shall be, set your seal upon my heart and live in me”.