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Travelling Backwards in Time

Happy new year! It’s strange writing this knowing that as you read it, you are beginning 2023 whilst I am still finishing 2022. For you, Christmas has finished, the excitement has faded away, the lights and decorations may even have been packed away and life has become a bit more normal. Yet for me, Christmas is still to come, the hope and anticipation is still in the air, waiting to be fulfilled. We are worlds apart, but I know how where you are feels, because I have been there before, just as future me is there with you now.

That’s the strange thing about writing – the words not only travel to the reader through space, but also through time. They are never read when they are written, sometimes hours later, other times centuries. Yet in reading old or ancient writings, so much is still familiar, even though so much is different. People are still people; our emotions are the same and I think what it really means to be human has not changed at all.

This strange time delay is also a weird part of planning the life of a Church. My mind always seems to be at least in part, at another place in the calendar. Whilst I’m planning next weeks sermon, part of me is already thinking about the week after. As I’m planning for Christmas part of me is already thinking about New Year, or Easter, or next Christmas. This at times can be frustrating, it can feel like I’m never fully able to be in the moment, because part of me is always somewhere in the future.

But I think that sometimes, in some way, this can actually make me more fully here. Seeing this moment in the light of what is to come, having a wider frame of reference so I can more fully appreciate this moment which I currently occupy. And it’s not just in my role as a Church minister that I am called to have this wider view, where looking to the future helps me to more clearly see the present. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to keep my eyes on what He has promised and on who I will become, so that I might more clearly see the full truth of my present reality. For in a way, this is what faith is; to live today with such trust that we will receive what we hope and wait for, that we live as though we already have it.

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