The Manse : Epiphany 2022

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.

And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

Minnie Haskins : 1875 - 1957

My dear friends

A new month, a new year: new happenings for everyone, new beginnings: perhaps many would echo the words of the Jewish writer Chaim Potok, who said “All beginnings are difficult” for anyone at any stage.

In writing to you at Epiphany when we recall the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child as His Manifestation to Gentiles and also recall Jesus’ Baptism, let us dare to dream of a new beginning for our own life journey and have a similar dream for the life of the Church, the vessel in which we all sail as 2022 unfolds.

Let us hold fast to the gospel affirmation as in the disciples’ journey with Jesus in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, that though waters may begin to swamp our boat, they shall not prevail and we shall not fear, for Jesus said, ‘Peace, be still.’ Then there was calm. Then the disciples asked of one another: ‘Who is this whom even the winds obey?’

You and I belong, by Grace alone, to the Community of the Baptised, the Body of Christ, and our main task is to follow Jesus Christ in every sphere of our activities and to believe that every step we take, mysteriously He is beside us.

As with our family, you will have received and now taken down the Christmas Cards and perhaps, as you looked again, you noticed a particular picture, the infant Child Jesus, the Nativity scene at Bethlehem, a picture of a Star, or perhaps a beautiful view telling of the greatest love story ever. A picture tells a thousand words: One of the most meaningful pictures I have is that of a Life Boy [Junior Boys’ Brigade] walking beside Christ: the Cross is in the background: Christ is wearing a white robe, so we are to understand that the Resurrection has happened. Christ’s left hand is on the boy’s shoulder and Christ’s right hand holds the boy’s right hand. Together they step forward – each looking at the other. They make their way down-hill from the Cross and the words beneath the picture read: I will come with you

As 2022 begins to take shape, let us hold fast to Him who goes before us, walks beside us and is that voice, presence, strength behind us saying: This is the way, walk ye in it.

There is surely no better way as Minnie Haskins wrote above.

May the Lord bless you as you hold onto Him every moment of every day of every month of this year of Grace, Anno Domini 2022.

With very best wishes

John