As I write, I am acutely aware that the schools are returning for their new year. Both our young people and our school teaching staff face many new challenges.

Some face new schools, the start of a new stage, or the continuing pursuit of qualifications to equip them for employment or further education.

Some of our teachers have new roles and new staff to engage with.

In the past, we often considered that the return to school marked the beginning of a new year in the life of the church. What is more, the season of harvest marks the beginning of the preparation for next year’s crop.

While on holiday on the Sussex coast, myself and Ollie attended Evening Prayers (said) in Chichester Cathedral. As we participated, the one thing that registered with both of us was the part read from Isaiah 43 (v18 & 19)

“Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”

As we look to the next year in the life of our fellowship, there is a sense that God has plans as yet not revealed to us. But plans that we can trust as ‘new things’ will unfold.

As we left the cathedral, we picked up a little card with the well known prayer that is attributed to St Richard of Chichester:

Thanks be to thee,
my Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which
thou hast given me,
for all the pains and insults
which thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer,
Friend and Brother,
may I know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly
and follow thee more nearly.

For each of us, as we face new challenges, whether in our personal lives or the corporate life of the church, let us seek to know more clearly, love more dearly and follow more nearly our Redeemer, Friend and Brother, who continues to do ‘new things’ in our lives.


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