Pause for Thought January 2015

new year resolutionWhen I belonged to a gym, it was easy to see the numbers swell in January. Many had made the gym their preferred method in carrying out a new year’s resolution. “Time for a new me…..”

Newness and starting over is a common theme as we begin a new year. The Stylistics sang about it in their 1970’s hit – “God bless you- you make me feel brand new”. Newness is a theme that occurs a lot in songs. One of my favourites is on the album ‘Inside Out’ by Bryn Haworth who puts before the listener a set of characters who inside are crying out to be made new. He sings of young mothers, a prisoner serving a long sentence, a stressed business man. All of them sing the refrain – “Wash me clean in that cool river, wash my soul in that pure water, Lord, make me new”.

Many of us will start the new year in debt, or resolving to turn over a new leaf, lose a few pounds  - etc. Sometimes we feel a deep desire to start again, turn over a new leaf, wipe the slate clean, start afresh,… there are many phrases for this same sort of desire.

Many of us will fail with the resolutions in a week or two. Often, we think that by changing an external environment, we can effect change deep inside ourselves. That rarely happens, although the wrong environments can make personal change more difficult.

For me, certain characters in the New Testament stand out in terms of radical change. There is Paul, a persecutor of the very early church, becoming a church planter and leader, the author of many letters in the New Testament. Then there is Zacchaeus, the dishonest lonely tax collector who promises to give away half his wealth and repay four times over those he has cheated in the past. The catalyst or cause for these changed lives? An encounter with Jesus.

For me, the saying, ‘The heart of the problem is the problem of the human heart’ points the way to where real change begins. After the gym membership lapses, the diet fades, or the new routine is slowly compromised, maybe we’ll find that real change is found in an encounter with the heart doctor – Jesus. We have recently celebrated his birth at Christmas. He grew up and is in the business of washing clean and making new. So by all means, go to the gym, but invite Him in too.

Happy New Year.  Dave Maylor


“Pause for Thought” this month comes from Rev Dave Maylor
Rector of Barnack with Ufford and Bainton
Telephone: 01780 740234