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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

28 May 2014: Jon Piper, Hope Church

A new chapter

In the coming few months, my family are going to be experiencing a large amount of changes. Our schools, our work and much of our lifestyle are likely to go through very substantial changes. Many of these changes are positive steps, while others simply mark the ending of one period of our lives and the start of another.

If I were ever to write a memoir, this would be the end of a chapter.

Perhaps the holiday that we have begun to plan for the summer would be a suitable final riff, before the turn of the page. Our plan involves a long journey, taking in different landscapes and cultures, hopefully resulting in strong, treasured memories for all of us.

There is a certain feeling of danger at setting out on these journeys - both the holiday and the wider one in our lives. The unknown can be intimidating, like a half-seen creature in shadowy film. I have very little idea what feelings or experiences my family and I are likely to go through in the next few months. Obviously, we hope the half-seen creature is benevolent and positive, but I can't be sure yet.

At points like this in my journey, I'm thankful for the wisdom books in the Old Testament. The Psalms are the timeless songs of people struggling, rejoicing, pondering and screaming about their experiences. The Proverbs are the, sometimes conflicting, lessons learnt as the writers decipher the patterns of their lives. Ecclesiastes is a difficult to grasp book where the writer ponders the transitional nature of life.

These are the written words of people who have travelled this way before. Their feet have marked the paths. I can benefit from the signs they left behind: 'Danger Here' or 'Look Out For Quick Sand' or even 'Here Comes A Good Bit'.

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Post on 28 May; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

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