Mat’s February Letter

Do you like January? It isn’t my favourite month. We’ve had the joy (and over indulgence) of Christmas and the promise of the New Year but it’s still dark and cold—and as I write wintry rain is falling steadily outside. I’m told that the 11th of January is the most depressing day of the year so at least that is out of the way. At times like this it is good to read the New Testament epistles encouraging us to give thanks at all times and to rejoice always. For example 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18Open Link in New Window; “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”. The will of God is that we should be thankful, rejoice and pray without ceasing. 

The current excellent sermon series ‘Knowing God’ is challenging me to re-focus my priorities to try love God first and to seek first the kingdom of God. There is an oft quoted phrase of St Augustine’s which says that ‘our souls are restless until they find their rest in God.’ If our loving God never changes then if we centre ourselves in God then we will always be ‘rested’, at peace in the knowledge of that love. (Peace or shalom is being fully present to God rather than a place of quiet.)

So perhaps one of the reasons for our discontent in January is that we seek joy, and things to be thankful for, in the world rather than in God. In our relationship with God in Christ we find joy, thankfulness in all circumstances and the ability to pray without ceasing.

So how do we find that ‘rest in God’? Psalm 62:5Open Link in New Window says this; ‘for God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is in him’. I have spoken to a number of people recently who are discovering or re-discovering the joy of silence in the presence of God. It really does work. It takes a little practice and it means making the time and effort to do it. In the end doing that, or not, is a choice made out of priority. So the question for me, and perhaps for you, is whether or not knowing God is a priority. If it is and we do, then we will find joy and thankfulness even in January!


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