“Forgetting what is behind, and reaching towards what is ahead, I press towards the goal of the high calling in Christ”. –Philippians 3:13-14
A new year, new resolutions, so often it is a new setting up of ourselves for failure and disappointment. As I sit here to the aural backdrop of Chinook helicopters trying to fill a breach in a nearby riverbank which has already caused flooding for so many at Christmas, I am accompanied by others living on the edge and facing difficulties even where they have been able to spend time with family and friends. Those facing the disrupting ice storms, tornadoes, loss of power, bush fires, drought, war, violence both domestic and political; a young father dying of cancer; a young woman escaping Syria travelling dangerously across Europe in a wheelchair looking for a place of safety; older people isolated, abused, maltreated in so-called “Care Homes”; homeless and jobless seeking self-worth, identity and a means of earning and living a “normal life”; ex-servicemen often suffering invisible wounds such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which wrecks their lives, families and futures; those wondering where the next mouthful of food or medicine will be found. They all surround me. As do the massive numbers of volunteers who seek to reach out to help those in need offering the priceless gifts of love, time, energy, resources and encouragement.
Sometimes the darkness seems overwhelming; but at the darkest point, the Light has come among us as one of us. Love is born. IT IS ALL ABOUT GOD’S LOVE.
So as we go forward into this year, this Celtic call reminds us we are not alone and not facing the future in our own strength, if we choose to follow the Christ who goes ahead of us, encouraging and inviting us with hand outstretched, “Follow me.” The choice is ours. The prayer can be ours.
“Let us go forth
In the goodness of our merciful Father
In the gentleness of our brother Jesus
In the radiance of the Holy Spirit
In the faith of the apostles
In the joyful praise of the angels
In the holiness of the saints
In the courage of the martyrs
Let us go forth
In the wisdom of our all-seeing Father
In the patience of our all-loving Brother
In the truth of the all-knowing Spirit
In the learning of the apostles
In the gracious guidance of the angels
In the patience (and sometimes impatience) of the saints
In the self-control of the martyrs
Such is the path of all servants of Christ
The path from death to life eternal.”
-In ‘Celtic Fire’ – unattributed
So go before us, God, in our pilgrimage of life. Anticipate our needs. Prevent us falling. And lead us to our destiny in You, with You, through You. We love you because you first loved us. AMEN.