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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

9 January 2013: Jon Piper, Hope Church

New Beginnings

I seem to have seen more retrospectives on 2012 than there were actual events in that year. The consensus seems to be that it was not a great year, but lots of brilliant things happened, along with plenty of terrible things. Politically, the frantic work of our representatives seems to have left the UK in almost exactly the same place as we were this time last year.

This slightly dissatisfied feeling about the past year is also true of my personal experience of 2012. To compensate, I have decided to drop a few pounds, exercise more, be a better husband and father, spend more time with my wider family, write more, become organised, generally save the world, you know the sort of thing. I'm also going to be taking part in a little experiment that should help me to practice the spiritual disciplines more, which will be great because, to be frank, I've not had the most disciplined year. I'm essentially a not very resolved sort of person embarking on several New Year's resolutions.

This process of gathering up the mess of the previous year and hoping for a better new one is an important time for me. It is a time when I can recognise that, through faith, I can move on, unhindered by my past inadequacies, hopeful of becoming a better man. Perhaps, as I live with other people who also find themselves in the mess of everyday life, I can show a little bit of what God is like.

Because this is the effect that God had on us, when He gave us the clearest demonstration of what He is like, on the cross. He changed the situation, so that we do not need to suffer the nightmarish retribution of karma, but we can forgive and be forgiven. He started a new economy where mercy is the cash and where freedom from our previous mistakes is what keeps things moving.

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Post on 9 January; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

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