Saturday, 9 May 2009

A fresh start

(Written January 2nd 2008). Repentance is, I suspect, at the root of what we call a New Year’s resolution, this universal need to make a sort of break with past bad habits or wrong directions in order to forge a new and better life in the forthcoming year. The problem however is that these resolutions depend heavily on our own resolve and we know how weak that can be. Making a fresh start with God, however, is different. Here we rely and lean on Him rather than ourselves. Here we pray and hand over to Him the need to change. Which brings me back to the word “repent”. Although it does mean to change direction or to change one’s mind, it implies that this is not wholly down to us but relies very much on a partnership with God with him doing the hardest bit – changing us! A picture may help. Outside the Vicarage is a very busy road, where traffic is non-stop. Crossing it is very hazardous for adults but for little children it is well nigh impossible. The other day as I was waiting in my car for a gap in the traffic to dart out in order to turn left, I watched as a father took the hand of his young son – about four of five years old – and lead him safely across the road. That safe passage relied on two things. First on the Father who had to look both ways and keep a firm hold of his son’s little hand until they reached the other side. And second on the son co-operating and trusting the father, allowing him to hold his hand and guide him across. The two working together afforded them a safe crossing. That is a picture of repentance where we walk hand in hand with God negotiating the change we and He have agreed on together. As I begin a New Year I start with the determination to walk with him hand in hand all the way, trusting Him to change me and guide me in the “right pathways for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23)

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