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           From the Vicarage


A new calendar has gone up, we have moved into the year of our Lord 2018, travelling forward into who knows what the months ahead will hold. Whether the last year held sorrow or joy for you it was at least familiar. Now we are stepping into the unknown. 

This month sees me begin the seventh year of serving in Collingham and Harewood and also in Spofforth, Kirk Deighton and Little Ribston. Years of getting to know faces, hearing stories, learning about the past of the villages, having the privileges of being able to share something of your lives. That January I stepped across the threshold of a new place and I had to listen and to learn. This January we each step into a new experience, a new year which will be different to the old one gone by. Some of it will be familiar and we will go on doing things in the old way but some things will be strange and will challenge us to react in new ways. It may be exciting. It may be painful. 

The first Sunday in January is kept as the Baptism of Christ (when it doesn’t get displaced by Epiphany and the Wise men!). Jesus asked John to baptise him as he was about to begin something new and radically different. He had left the years we assume were spent growing up in the carpenter’s shop and he was about to begin his work of preaching, teaching and healing, to take up the role for which he became human. And as he emerged from the waters of baptism all around heard the voice ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’: God’s blessing on what lay ahead. 

It is always a joy for me to baptise, whether it be a baby or someone older, to welcome them into the Christian family and to celebrate that that person is the beloved child of God. At the start of something new, whether a new year, or a new life in Christ, a new job, a new relationship, in all our beginnings and our continuing in them God speaks to us, telling us we are his beloved. He invites us to be the truest self we can possibly be, he offers us life in all its abundance. 

God was with Jesus as he stepped out into the unknown. He is with us as we begin this year. Let’s look forward into whatever it holds, in joy and in hope, knowing that God is with us .

With every blessing,