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A New Year, a new beginning – Time to Reflect

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A New Year, a new beginning – Time to Reflect
Nobody is perfect – and if we think we are, that's probably one of our major imperfections! We all need God's amazing grace, which is his freely given, pouring out of love to all those he has created.
It's not always easy to comprehend how much God loves us and how powerful that love is. Some years ago I had the good fortune to visit Niagara Falls. To this day I struggle to comprehend the amount and the power of the water falling every minute over the falls. I couldn't imagine where it had all come from, how there could be so much water and how it didn't just run out and stop altogether. God's grace is that and so much more. His love for us all is ever flowing, ever powerful and yes, truly Amazing.
When you look back on your life, the time of the pandemic or indeed the last year I wonder, where do you notice God? Were there any moments when you experienced the overwhelming love of God? It certainly has been a difficult couple of years – and yet time and again we have seen the power of love, through NHS staff, volunteers, kind neighbours etc. demonstrating that love and kindness will win.
What about in the recent days in the run up to Christmas and the celebrations of the festive season, what did you notice of God and about yourself?
How about today? At the beginning of a new year what would be your hopes for your relationship with God?
The Christian faith is centred on a relationship between us and God revealed in Jesus, constantly shaped and developed by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's not an equally balanced relationship – God pours out so much more on us that we can ever offer back. Sometimes, when we are in tune with the Holy Spirit (who draws us closer to God in prayer) this relationship feels strong. At other times, we will wander faraway from what we are called to be and do. This is rarely intentional; it just happens as we live our lives. We find ourselves, like John Newton, needing a strong nudge from God maybe even a traumatic event to show us that we are not on the right life pathway.
Over the past two years, we have all been through a traumatic event. How have you responded? Has anything changed? Or have you drifted back into doing things as you have always done them, or longing for the old days? If you were to write a hymn about your past present and future what would it say?
At the beginning of this New Year maybe it's time to stop. To pause and reflect on God's abundant love poured out on us, and what our personal response will be. The Lord has indeed promised good to us in this life and the next. I pray that even in our darkest times we will still find our hope in God.

A time of prayer
At the beginning of this New Year let us call to mind the promises of God to be with us in good times and bad....
We pray for the broken places in our world. For those countries at war, and for those who look on feeling hopeless.....
We pray for those people that we love, (and we name them before God) .....
We pray for those people we struggle to love, (and we name them before God) ....
We pray for ourselves. (What do you hope for in the coming 12 months?).
Loving God we give you thanks for the promises you have made to be with us in life and beyond death. Help us to hold onto you. We offer all our prayers in the name of Jesus.

Taken from the Methodist Church Worship at Home Sheet for Sunday 1 January 2023

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