I confess to not being one for New Year resolutions. Too easy to make and even easier to break. At the same time being confident that I can make a fresh start every day is fundamental to my faith as a Christian. Each morning I have the opportunity to renew my trust in God, who knows me inside out.
Yesterday Steve Jonathan at church (Tamworth Elim)pointed out very concisely the difference between "reputation" and "character" - the former being what other people think of me, whilst the latter is how God sees me (and how I know myself to be).
But knowing that my life is an open book before God, doesn't fill me with feelings of failure or guilt, for it comes with the certainty that His grace, forgiveness and mercy flow like a river to me and through me. This is reason that I can know that things are new every morning.
Which brings me to the Bible in One Year, a brilliant downloadable app from Nicky Gumbel (of Alpha renown) which I have on my iPad and which takes me through the bible day by day, with readings and reflections, prayer guide lines and encouragements.
I find it an excellent way to start each day over my breakfast muesli. But even here, there is a choice to make - to take this opportunity to simply fill my head with knowledge and wise words, or look to embrace and engage with the teaching, allowing scripture not only to inform me but also to challenge and shape me, teach me and change me.
It was this thought that gave rise to the following poem.
Student or Disciple – (with apologies to a certain W. Shakespeare)
To study the written Word and know its form
Its every twist and nuanced turn.
Quotations flow from expert lips,
The cut and thrust of learned argument.
The cap and gown of doctorate so long striven for;
The glittering prize of religious academe;
Acquired wisdom transformed to reputation and prestige.
Or to follow the living Word and know His face,
The twists and turns of the more narrow way;
To speak as He would guide my childlike tongue;
His Spirit double edged - true cut and thrust.
Yet not for fame or earthly accolade,
No recognition save love from those in need;
Embodied wisdom lived out in weakness and in grace.
Which is it to be - which not to be?
This question all must face to some degree,
But He who judges all
Sees deeper yet than we will ever know
To confound even we who pose
Such thoughts in poetry or prose!
(c) Martin Wild 2018