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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

14 September 2011: Margaret Powell, Petersfield Methodist Church

New Beginnings

I write on 6th September - a date which has been indelibly written in the minds of so many children, parents, teachers and others - all of whom are making a new start today. Feelings are mixed - excitement coupled with nervousness; challenge with fear of failure; hope with looking forward, perhaps with some regret for the past.

Today three of our grandchildren are setting off for Primary School for the first time, and we wonder how they will cope. Here in Petersfield, at the Methodist Church, we are about to welcome our new minister, the Rev'd Jeanette Richardson. Her feelings about us, and vice versa, are probably similar to those just mentioned. How are we going to cope? Will we rise to the challenge? What are our hopes? And what have we done wrong in the past which we would like to change? Yes, new beginnings are full of opportunities, and we should be glad that this is so.

When children start at a new school their thoughts may go back to the old one and wish things didn't change - but they have to be like the snake who sloughs off his old coat and grows a new one. In his letter to the Ephesians, St Paul taught that we can grow as 'children of light' by casting aside our old selves and becoming new selves, united in the Body of Christ - a bit like growing into new 'skins' (or school uniforms). He explained that becoming a Christian meant casting aside the old life and starting a new life as fellow citizens of God's family.

John Denver wrote, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life" and as we face new things just now, it is wonderful to know that God's loving compassion for us is "New every morning". (Lamentations 3:23).

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