January 2021 

Written by Rev Canon Nigel Mason - Rector of Rotherfield with Mark Cross

A few days ago, I heard someone suggest that the reason they were going to see in the new year this year, was to make sure the old one had gone!  I’m not sure what we will make of 2020 in years to come; hopefully Covid-19 will be behind us and we can return to lives that follow a more usual pattern.

Traditionally, this is the time of year when we make resolutions, when we consider life changes, plans for the coming months and how we might make the most of our lives.  However, I wonder how much the new year resolutions we make this year, will be influenced by the events of 2020?

One thing we may have learned, is that we cannot take life for granted.  Maybe some of the resolutions and plans you made for the last year were effectively wiped out by the pandemic and our lives were put on hold; we all have had to wait, and wait patiently.

Another aspect of the pandemic was a realisation of the important priorities in our lives and the discovery of how much the natural world could bring us joy.  If I recall, during the early days of the lockdown, people were suggesting there were more birds.  Of course, we soon discovered in the absence of road and air-traffic, we were beginning to hear the birds, especially with all the time we spent in our gardens.  

Alongside this growing appreciation of the natural world, we were also given ‘additional’ time gained from our usual rushed activities.  In conversation, someone expressed to me how they had realised the importance of a more balanced life; how frantic life had all become, certainly less was more.

From a faith perspective, I missed the opportunity to just be in church with others and realised how I had taken for granted the freedom to be there Sunday-by-Sunday.  I will never forget Easter Day, standing in church all on my own and proclaiming the Easter Declaration: “Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, Alleluia!”

And yet on reflection, the hope of resurrection day just rung a little truer and deeper in the midst of the Pandemic.  Yes, there was the reality of Good Friday, but there was Easter Day and the hope of resurrection; in the midst of anguish there was a future, a future for all of us.

As I look ahead, I hope the silver linings of a dark cloud will inspire me in the coming year.  Life may not be as before, but hopefully it will be lived with greater meaning, quality and purpose. 

As we look forward and whatever we may face in the new year, let us do so with a quiet confidence and assurance in the promises given to us all:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46 v1