I love March – I honestly think that it is the best month in the year, and this has nothing to do with the fact that it is my birthday month! March is a month of surprises – it feels like the beginning of spring but, as my mum likes to remind me, it snowed the week I was born. You never know what to expect in March.
So far this year one verse of scripture has invaded my thoughts and I can’t seem to put it down. Perhaps it’s because of what this year brings for me personally or perhaps it’s because God wants me to really understand the concept.
Isaiah 43 says:
‘See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’
Or, as The Message puts it:
‘Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
It seems to me that throughout the Bible God is constantly doing a new thing, culminating in the arrival of Jesus, the Saviour, who didn’t come as a King but as a baby; who preached such radical things that it turned people against him; but also preached love. An unexpected Saviour who upended the world so much that even 2000 years later we still wrestle with his message.
‘See, I am doing a new thing…’ Well that it is certainly true for me. I cannot tell you what a shock is to be moving on from the area. Ali and I had no concept that our time here would be just four and a half years but, while on holiday in our beloved Bansko, God spoke very clearly: Now is the time to go – see, I am doing a new thing. And new thing it is – a new county, a new Diocese, nine churches, new schools for the kids, new friends to be made, new adventures to have.
‘See, I am doing new thing…’ What is God saying to you ? As winter passes and spring emerges, what is the new thing that God is doing? What do you need to be alert for?
At St Mary’s and St Paul’s we are concentrating on some very specific areas of new things in our Mission Action Plan. They are all brilliant, but I have a soft spot for our desire to become an Eco Church. As I write, General Synod has just voted to set a 2030 deadline for net zero emissions. What does this even mean? Well, my understanding is that human-caused emissions — like those from fossil-fuelled vehicles and factories — should be reduced as close to zero as possible, and if we can’t reduce them totally we should compensate for it in other ways, such as planting trees.
This is an incredible challenge and it will take a lot of work to achieve it. But it is necessary and a responsibility for all of us. The effects of climate change are becoming more and more evident and we need to start working very hard to redress that. It is good that we as the church should lead the way!
‘See, I am doing a new thing…’ Let us keep our eyes and ears open for what new things God has for us, and join in, as we try to treat and care for our planet better.
With every blessing