Archdeacon’s New Year Message

2020 – Don’t Panic!

When I wrote this in time for January publication, the General Election campaign was in full swing. Whatever the predictions I might have had about the vote in December. I’m pretty sure that

they will, no doubt, now proved to be wrong!

Whenever we look forward into the unknown that is the future we have a potent sense of uncertainty, hope and aspiration.

At the beginning of a New Year we might look back and reflect on what has been. 2019, without doubt, has given us all plenty to look back on! We also look forward and usually resolve that whatever the future holds we somehow want to be better.

It’s not only the start of a new year that provokes us to reflect and review our lives in this way. So many of us spend time in our professional lives reflecting and reviewing, setting aspirational targets for a better and more successful future.

Even if we don’t have to do that, we all live with the tyranny of the diary, constantly looking ahead, planning and preparing for the future.

The unexpected joy of being asked to write this article at a time when I can’t look back on an event that hasn’t yet happened, or predict with any confidence where we might be now or what future is unfolding, is that I am compelled to simply be where I am.

The gift of the present moment, trusting that I am where God has called me to be now, and that He loves me in this place at this time, and that He is in all time and eternity, redeeming that which has been and going before us -Alpha and Omega- the beginning and the end; this is the gift of peace.

At the beginning of this New Year may we know that peace of God which passes all understanding; the peace that is the gift of the Risen Lord who has gone before us. He tells us not to be anxious or afraid.

The worse that can happen has happened; we have killed the Son of God. But, God raised him from the dead and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in Him. The perfect love of the Risen and Ascended Lord drives out fear.

Whilst I can’t predict the events of recent weeks, I do know that amidst whatever confusion and uncertainty the ongoing drama of our national life throws at us, the drama of our salvation revealed in the Birth, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus continues as He works the good purposes of his perfect will. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weakness.

The invitation is to grow in our love for Him, and to joyfully trust in his promises, for He is faithful. Or, in other words, “thy kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven.” Happy New Year!

The Venerable Luke Irvine-Capel, Archdeacon of Chichester