This is about the time in the month of January when we can sort New Year Resolutions into two categories – those that were driven by guilt at over indulgence or those that might actually make a difference to our lives. The first are doomed to failure and the second have a chance of surviving into Lent. I began my New Year by leading the annual covenant service at the Local Ecumenical Partnership at St. Andrew’s, Devizes. A service which involves the commitment to deepening the relationship of trust that is at the heart of faith. The risky part of that resolution is that it requires giving up control and accepting what God might have in mind.
The covenant begins with the words ‘I am no longer my own but yours.’ An invitation to set aside assumptions and prejudices about what the church is for and our own parts within it. Thus began an inward conversation that was coloured by my Christmas reading of Selina Todd’s ‘The People. The Rise and Fall of the Working Class’. Todd asks pertinent questions about what makes human life worthwhile and I have to agree with her that working in order to help the richest 1% get richer is not the answer.
Next Sunday I will be with the congregation of St. Columba’s, North Shields when the Revised Common Lectionary has us listening to Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah. In that reading Jesus offers the criteria by which his ministry is to be judged: good news to the poor, release to the captives, healing to the blind, freedom to the oppressed and the cancellation of crippling debt. That would be a good resolution for us all to adopt. It is a commitment that would make clear the purpose of the church and which would make human life worthwhile. It would certainly make a difference and if we could get over our obsession with guilt and sin we might even keep the resolution through till Easter.
PS. The photographs have nothing to do with the text of this blog but breaking up words with pictures is always a good thing!