Behind and Ahead


What lies ahead in the dawn of each New Year? God only knows.

For many of us, the days just before New Year begins each year give rise to reflection and contemplation. We reflect back on the passing year; we contemplate the various possibilities of the year ahead, any we imagine may happen. We may feel sadness, regret – a sense of loss, about the year that’s going, gone. We may feel anxious, curious, apprehensive and concerned  - all these adverbs and more - about what’s ahead on Life’s pathway.

A few years ago, I stood as it were at 'the gate of the year. I was in Turkey where I had traveled with a number of pastors and leaders to visit the seven ancient churches to which St. John wrote the last book of the Christian Bible, in what we call the New Testament: - the book entitled ‘ The Revelation of Jesus Christ.’

There I was - musing at the burial place of St. John in ancient Ephesus. The rest of our group had slipped a little further on to see another ruin, where our guide was earnestly explaining all. But I stood, musing beside the ancient tomb.

I’m drawn to the contemplative side of things though I’m fully aware that life, the world, one's responsibilities, duties and opportunities, call us also to action: – pray God: Holy Spirited action. As I lingered in deep thought I thought of my life past, and what might be ahead, not quite St. John the contemplative but maybe a little like him in my own 21st century embodiment of a Jesus-follower. I marveled as well at the gift of being so close to the purported place where lay the bones of the old saint, this dear, close-disciple of our Lord.

Beyond thinking about something, once shown, once known, there comes the call to do. Thinking and doing, of course, arises from the primary call ‘to be’ as one of God’s little ones, little children – listening, learning, playing and discovering. It’s good to stop and think, to be drawn by life and by life circumstances to do so. But then it’s time to move on.

I do so, with you, wondering what we’ll discover and play at and with, in this coming year?


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