Pastor’s Pen: Look to the future with joy and hope

Rev Carol Harvey.
Rev Carol Harvey.

By Rev Carol Harvey

Haven’t we had a lovely ‘Indian summer’? At the moment the park where I walk my dogs is wonderful, it’s crunchy leaf time. They love to kick up the leaves as they go, and more often than not Susie (a shiatsu) has a couple of leaves stuck to her snuffling face.

As for me, I continue to give thanks for and enjoy the tranquillity of the place, the rich diversity of colour in the trees and the odd times of fellowship with other dog walkers.

November is a strange month, we are adjusting to the changes brought about by the clock, still looking back to autumn yet anticipating the coming of Christmas.

Although the nights have been on the turn since the summer solstice it is a surprise to realise that in a few months with the winter solstice they will be getting lighter again!

We fall into the rhythm of the seasons almost like a liturgy of life. We have our little family and social rituals dictated to by birthdays and holidays, by births, marriages and deaths.

Sadly the number of my old friends and parishioners who have passed away is growing. It’s one of the difficult but deeply moving and privileged parts of my job, bringing hope and peace to the dying and comfort to those who mourn. Appropriate to speak of it at this time of year – looking back over a life made up of moments some warm and sunny, some wet and stormy, looking forward to a new life in Christ Jesus in a place which he has prepared for those who love Him (John 14:3), a place where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

How do we get there? As Jesus tells Thomas: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.(John 14:6). So I urge you all, don’t look back with regret, don’t carry your regrets or your sorrow into the future, but step forward boldly and live the abundant life which God has marked out for you.

Enjoy this interim time before the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Use it to reflect on what has passed and look with hope and joy into the future.