The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week. We hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
This week’s Friday Reflection is from Pauline Culshaw – a Local Preacher in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire Circuit living in Thornbury, a volunteer at the New Room and an advocate for Eco Church.
Matthew 3 vv1-6
Verse 3 This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
This is the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’
Curiously during these times I have been reminded of New Year’s Eve when we traditionally reflect on the year ending and look forward to the year about to begin. I think of Janus the two-faced Roman god who supposedly could look backwards and forwards without turning round. All forms of transition came within his purview – beginnings, endings, entrances, exits and passageways.
At this time of global crisis we may sense we are on a threshold caught between two worlds, the one we knew before the pandemic and the one to come. Some people have lost precious family and friends, some have suffered debilitating effects from the illness, some have lost jobs and livelihoods.
For the people of Israel the River Jordan was a threshold between past and future, from slavery into the freedom of the Promised Land. The prophet John the Baptist straddled the gap between Old and New Covenant and left the wilderness to come to the Jordan River to proclaim the need for repentance, baptism and the coming of a radically different kingdom.
Pandemics have historically forced nations to break with the past and re-imagine the future and as Christians we can play our full part in the public sphere. We are in a threshold moment, a gift from God who makes all things new. May we prayerfully reflect on the opportunities to re-create a more loving, just and sustainable world.
God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, grieving or anxious.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
may we be transformed in Christ’s image in the power of the Holy Spirit as we seek your kingdom.
In his name Amen