I was reminded of both the positive and negative aspects of 2012 over new year this week.
We partied well as a group towards new year’s eve, celebrating and thanking God for all the blessings and highlights of the last year, with the Jubilee, Olympic and Paralympic games, national day of prayer at Wembley and many other significant moments.
Twelve hours later I watched a BBC 24 overview of the popular newsworthy stories of the last year. More sobering headlines of scandal and drama gripping parliament, banks, the police, media and other institutions. Last year – the best of times, the worst of times.
This coming year will no doubt see more of the like, if not on quite the same scale. The good, bad and ugly of national and international life.
It would be good to pray that people of faith rise even more as a force for good in our society.
You could pray for the church of Jesus Christ at the start of 2013 that people might:
SHINE. We’re called to be light in the world as Jesus was. Maybe the light of unity in community of Jesus’ followers will be attractive this year and the good news of hope will be a bright beacon in times of personal and wider crises.
ENGAGE. We can’t retreat from issues that dominate papers, chat shows and places of decision making. If salt can act as a preserver amongst food, so too can Christians flavour and help in debates on social ills and moral issues. The spheres of local life are important to pray over and work for change. If the gospel is public truth, then it does affect politics, education, health, law & order, media & entertainment, business and community – profoundly.
BLESS. One of the more attractive characteristics of Jesus’ followers is their potential to be agents of grace in situations. Investing in people, serving where you are, and sowing acts of random kindness are possible for all. Most people can rise to those heights when called upon, how much more can people of faith live like that out of a resource of God’s grace flowing in our lives.
May the church in the UK rise even more this new 2013 to be a force for good where it matters – our our streets and in our communities.