New Year Blog 2: Keep pressing on

Staff_team_2015 Posted by Roger Cooke on Mon, 02 Jan 2017 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:12-14)

In yesterday morning’s Sunday Worship service on BBC Radio 4, Rev John Bell, of the Iona Community, shared the following reflection on the story of Lot’s wife – who disobeyed God and looked back on the city from which she and her family had escaped…

The moral of the story, if there is a moral, is that those who are obsessed with what has gone wrong in the past become unable to walk into the future.

You in your life, as I in mine, will know well what are the things in our past that went wrong, the failures we regret, the offences we still feel deeply, the disappointments which we almost covet from last year or the one before that or the one thirty years ago.

God does not want our future to be held ransom to our past. Remember Lot’s wife.

John Bell’s words inspired much of my thinking yesterday about the New Year and were part of the inspiration for yesterday’s Eighth Blog of Christmas.

But I’ve also been thinking what a new year means for CMSI and for our Global Partners.

In the world of mission organisations and Christian development agencies, it can be tempting to keep launching major campaigns and initiatives – a big new cause every year. Of course, it makes sense to maintain the interest and engagement of supporters and try to appeal to a wider audience. But at it’s worst, this trend of constant renewal and change can encourage short-termism and a lack of authentic partnership with the global Church.

For CMSI, as a new year begins, we want to keep doing what we’re doing, we want to keep encouraging long-term commitment to God’s people in ‘uncomfortable places.’ There may be new resources and fresh stories, there may be slight shifts in emphasis from time to time, but essentially, we want to keep on keeping on.

Forgetting the past and starting afresh is sometimes a luxury than few can afford. For many of our Global Partners, not least those whose calling is to the people of South Sudan, ‘new year resolutions’ are unlikely to be a major priority. They can’t forget the horrific violence of recent months and years…because it is still happening. They need our continued love, prayers and companionship. They need us to look forward with them, to remind them that something better awaits – the hope of a future filled with joy and celebration.

Perhaps one of the best resolutions we can make at the start of a new year is to keep pressing on – to keep praying for the things and the people that God has put in each of our lives. We hope that CMSI and our partners are among those things, and those people, that you will continue to pray for.

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