It does not take long, it seems, for the memory of Christmas to fade into the distance. Christmas trees are discarded and the last bits of turkey have been used up, then schools and businesses begin to re-open. The beginning of the New Year always brings with it a time of reflection as we look back on the year past, with its joys, difficulties and sadnesses, and we look forward to the year ahead with its challenges and uncertainties. A lot of us will plan to start things or stop things and then begin to understand the level of commitment required to reach our goals.
Some years ago I listened to a former Olympic athlete speaking about the level of detail, discipline and commitment required to achieve Olympic, World and European-size goals. His plan, often several years in length, was set and mapped backwards from the final race, held at a specific time, on a specific day, in a specific place. The planning was incredible in its detail and included all of the measured training, build-up, training races and the alternative plans necessary in the likely event of illness or injury. There had to be flexibility in the planning, but none in terms of the end goal. Steve Cram won six gold and one silver medal in middle-distance races in the Olympics, World, European and Commonwealth Games.
At the beginning of 2019 some of you may be setting Olympic-size goals and I wish you well with those. However, I suspect that for most of us who are setting goals they are likely to be more modest. If you have not done so already, I would ask you to consider making some form of commitment to positively help build-up or enable our community. As we know, the uncertainty of Brexit will continue into the year ahead and, whatever the outcome, it will be a difficult time for many of us so please let us support one another, especially the younger members of our community. Many of you support the local food bank, Living Well, either independently or through the local church network, please continue to do so and if you don’t already please consider donating food, money or your time. It is an outrage that we need food banks in a nation such as ours and it is important that we refuse to accept the place and practice of food banks as ‘normal’ in our community. In the meantime people and families are still forced to use them, especially during school holidays. Finally, please come and speak with me or members of the church with your thoughts, ideas and concerns for our community. Whatever your plans for 2019 my prayer is that God will bless our community and help us to be more loving, caring and tolerant in the days ahead.
Living Well is a registered charity and is based at Holy Trinity Church, 66 Lennard Road, London SE20 7LX, Phone 020 8659 8991