Many years ago I borrowed a book from the local library entitled “2010”. It was a children’s picture book that attempted to show how we would be living in 2010 – then about 40 years into the future.
Needless to say there were plenty of flying cars, communities on the Moon, and other developments such as robot servants that even now remain firmly embedded in an episode of Star Trek.
As the New Year begins I can say with some confidence that most of the predictions in that children’s book of the 1970s will not be a reality in the next 12 months. We may have changed a lot over the years but not quite that much!
As the Church some of the changes and moving forwards we find ourselves being asked to make can seem like giant leaps into hyperspace and yet so many changes even in the past 100 years are now an established part of our lives. Just look at the explosion of new translations of the Bible, new hymns and songs, new prayer books, new worship experiences – so many fresh expressions of who we are as followers of Christ.
The Christian Church faces many challenges and opportunities and it would be foolish indeed not to be willing to embrace them and try to find new ways of proclaiming the gospel in our present day. The great characters of the Bible and the saints throughout the centuries all dared to have faith and take steps into a great unknown, confident of the Lord’s guidance and strength. Sometimes they seemed eccentric, but they achieved great things for God in their age.
In our churches we need to build on the past and explore ways of moving onwards in faith to ensure that the Church built by our forebears is not wasted and left to die out. We will need to find ways of respecting our traditions at the same time as being open to new ways of telling that old, old story to a present generation that doesn’t always have ears to hear.
As we look to the future we may need to be more realistic than that children’s book I used to read so enthusiastically. But the one certainty is that we cannot stand still, we are called ever onwards.
Let us pray that we may respond to that summons and together achieve marvellous things in God’s name. My very best wishes and every blessing for a Happy New Year.