What we do 

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The Team Vicar Writes... 

“Happy New Year!” That’s the greeting we’ve sent in our Christmas cards and been saying ‘face to face’ as 2020 dawns.

We want it to be true - for ourselves and our families and friends. But there’s so much that calls it into question, isn’t there? Most of us have personal struggles and worries that can leave us feeling far from happy.  And as for what’s going on in the world around us, well, it’s gloom - despair even - rather than happiness that the daily news brings us.

Christian faith does not offer us a magic formula for a ‘Happy New Year’. Instead, from start to finish, the Bible is totally honest about the reality of human suffering and the mess into which peoples and nations get themselves.

Yet Holy Scripture assures us that into the midst of our darkness, divine light has dawned. Light for all people who will turn to face it and walk in it. The Good News we heard read from the New Testament at Christmas services is not about superficial, fleeting cheerfulness. On the contrary, it’s about deep, lasting joy that does not depend on our outward circumstances but upon the transformation of our hearts and minds. This transformation does not happen automatically; God does not force His life-changing joy upon us; we have to invite and welcome the Christ-light into our hearts and minds on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.

The way to do this, of course, is through prayer; prayer which is as vital for Christian living as is oxygen for staying alive physically. When we pray, you and I come to see things a little more as God sees them; we gain a clearer vision of how this beautiful but broken world will be when God’s Kingdom comes as fully on earth as it is in heaven.

Those of us who did the Prayer Course in the Autumn found it to be ‘revitalising’, ‘rejuvenating’, and ‘challenging’. Above all, we were reminded of the importance of making a habit of daily prayer to re-centre our scattered thoughts and senses upon the presence of the living God. 

Likewise, the Leicester Diocesan vision, of communities of people who live out our faith every day, encourages us to regard praying not just as “something we do once a week in a particular building”; for prayer “is an expression of a relationship - like a child speaking to a loving parent - and therefore it can and should happen at any time and in any place”.

New Year resolutions are usually forgotten before the end of January. But if every member of each church in the Melton Team Parish committed to a simple but lasting resolution to make space for at least 5 minutes of time set aside for prayer EVERY DAY, I believe that we would see real transformation happening across our communities.

So each month, I plan to offer a prayer, drawn from the Bible, for us to pray for one another. Would you join me in praying, slowly and thoughtfully, every day of January these words, taken from Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 117-19:

“May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know Him better. May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which He has called us, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Yours in Christ Jesus,

mary small The Revd Mary Barr
 

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