Ring in the new! - Bishop Stephen’s New Year message 2017
“Ring out the old, ring in the new!” goes the saying – as though the old year was something to be chucked into the nearest rubbish bin.
Of course the New Year gives us a chance to plan and hope for what it may bring. But we all know that nothing mystical happens at the stroke of midnight. Nothing removes the challenges we may need to face, the world we witness in its brokenness as well as its beauty, with all its separateness and disunity as well as its love and togetherness.
Might there be another way of looking at the old year? Instead of just throwing it away, perhaps we should try sorting the items from the past that can be recycled into a separate bin so that we help make a better future.
So as well as a time of looking forward, the New Year can also be a time to pause, reflect and take stock of what has gone before. A time when we can think about our own personal share in building a better place to belong, when we can pray for peace, act to end suffering and show friendship with each other, our families and the communities we live in.
Then as the New Year dawns, we can be refreshed and rejoice in celebrating our own contribution to building a better place for all God’s creation.
And, if we place God at the heart of our reflections, we will be strengthened in our resolve: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Wishing you a peaceful and blessed New Year
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell - Bishop of Chelmsford