January heralds a New Year and new decade. It also brings some unusual symmetry in the calendar, with 2020 it is a hundred and one years since 1919. It seems natural to look back and forward in this changeover of the decade. Looking back over the last ten years it has been quite confusing and difficult. It is slightly ironic that we do not know what to call the last ten years. Is it the tens or teens or tenties or even twenty-tens? It is fair to say there appear to be two dominant themes, austerity and Brexit. The austerity was a result of the financial crisis in 2008 which was sparked by the banking collapse. It was only in 2018 Teresa May said that austerity is over, although many people have yet to notice a real change. You can see how dominant it has been in this decade. I have heard it referred to as the decade of decay. Brexit is still to be resolved and agreement reached. It looks set to reach into the next decade. It is interesting how the negative comes easily to mind. Yet there have been real highlights too, the London Olympics 2012, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Royal Weddings and Births. How will you remember the last decade?
As we look forward to what I assume we will call the twenties, what do we hope for? I think given where we come from, we are hoping for new growth and some certainty. I think we will have to wait some more time for more clarity. The issues of climate change still need addressing and will need us to change how we currently use energy and how we generate it. There has been another terrorist attack in London and we hope for reconciliation between people so that we can all live in peace and harmony. The wish list seems to grow quickly together with hopes for some big changes.
As we start a New Year and decade there are new hopes and expectations. What is important to remember is that God is always looking for new or second chances. With God, we are told that we are not beyond his reach. The only thing that gets in the way of that relationship is us and our shortcomings. If we are willing to acknowledge our faults and make a fresh start all kinds of new possibilities can start to change us and our outlook for the future. It does not need a big change in the calendar to start, so why not have fresh resolve to change and start again. It is worth remembering that often big changes are possible when many people make small changes, collectively that can change the outlook for the next decade. We all hope for the good things yet to come. Let us pray the next decade will be remembered for positive change.
Rev. Martin Wood. The Rectory, Church Lane, Cheriton Bishop EX6 6HY 01647 24119 (Tuesday to Sunday) firstname.lastname@example.org