So it's New Year's Eve and 2012 is just a few hours away. Growing up I never thought I'd reach the millennium let alone this far into a new century. I think that was mostly due to that weird sense of what constitutes old when you're only eight years old. I remember reading an article in the Observer magazine (yes, I used to read bits of a Sunday broadsheet when I was eight) about people in their thirties who had "retired" from the rat-race to live idyllic lives running general stores in Cotswold villages or somewhere in North Devon. At eight, living to thirty-four seemed impossible.
Now, each year flies by with barely the time to take a breath. But 2012 is going to be different for sure. Making sense of the rejection of my ministry and the new direction we are taking precipitated by the events of the last two years is an enormous challenge. Are we stepping out into a new challenge, bravely doing what others are too afraid to do? Or are we just foolish? Are we choosing a selfish option because I have messed up our lives in a most spectacular way by not being what I ought to have been.
Whatever the reason, this is the story in which we find ourselves and only in eternity will we know the significance of the twists and turns. I find myself in the ebb and flow of thinking I've made a terrible mistake, and that God didn't bring us this far to abandon us to the hopelessness of rejection and failure.
So 2012 is going to be a very different and unpredictable year. It may the first year in maybe more that 25 years when I don't preach a sermon or lead an act of worship. I don't know how often we will find ourselves in church on a Sunday. Not because we think it is optional, but because of the growing desire simply to do things differently.
Apparently the Mayor of London's firework display to celebrate the New Year will last 11 minutes. Once the smoke clears and the eyes readjust after the bright lights, the year will start. it's more that an 11 minute firework display. It is another 366 days of faithful walking in the same direction. Like Abraham, we are trying to walk with God to a destination he has shown us, but for which we have no map by which to navigate our way.