From the Licensed Lay Minister - January 2020

Dear Friends

When I picked up my pen to begin writing this, the thought came to me that it is rather like the New Year edition of the Parish Magazine.

Firstly the old, the past, as we look back on 2019, written with a pad and biro, then we move on to 2020, the shining, new unblemished year - the future and my fair copy, produced on my laptop and emailed to the editor - the new way of doing things.

Looking forward, we think of that shining, unblemished page of the New Year, at this moment mostly hidden beneath its cover, which lifted on January 1st as we began our new story. What will we write there, new plans, new hopes, new resolutions, a few fears perhaps? We will have the opportunity of getting to know new friends, new thoughts, new feelings, so many new things waiting for us to discover there.

Let us begin the New Year with a few resolutions to help look after God's wonderful world. It is easy to think that one's tiny contribution will make no difference but a thousand tiny contributions do make a big change possible. Let's start this New Year with a sense of responsibility; we all know the adage, "For evil to flourish it only needs one good man to do nothing”. Don't let that one man or woman be us! We like to think that we have invented re-cycling but you have only to look at the North wall in St Peter's church in Shaftesbury, to see that that is not the case - so much of the stone and carved niches are re-cycled from Shaftesbury Abbey! Little did the Reformation iconoclasts realise that the devastation which they produced would go on to beautify other places of worship in the future.

It is our responsibility to carry on the good work of re-cycling. I often feel that if we had to walk a mile to fetch clean water we might treat it with more respect, so turning off taps, mending drips and taking smaller baths and showers could be our way of shepherding a finite resource.

The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that when we open that cover and look at the new page headed 2020, it will be pristine. The cover will close on 2019 so that all the blots and smudges we managed to make in that year, are all miraculously wiped out in the blood of the Lamb - the best eraser ever invented.

The very special season of Christmas is over - but please let us cling to the real meaning of the festival - the most important birthday that ever happened. Let us celebrate with prayers for world peace, action on climate change and an end to poverty. I wish you all a New Year filled with exciting ideas about living in and sharing the love of God.

Wishing you all a happy New Year.

Jo Johnson
Licensed Lay Minister