Bishop John’s New Year Message

The Queen began her Christmas message by referring to the 50th anniversary of humanity’s memorable first steps on the moon. Of Neil Armstrong taking ‘a small step for man and a giant leap for mankind – and, indeed, for womankind.’ She observed that it is a reminder to us all that giant leaps often start with small steps, going on to speak of the continuing need for peace and reconciliation in our world and how this generally begins with small steps.

It was a very timely message. One of the things I have been reflecting upon since hearing it is how we can only take such steps ourselves. Watching my children take their first steps was a joyous experience precisely because I couldn’t do it for them. First steps towards peace and reconciliation can be equally exhilarating to observe, but we cannot take them on behalf of others. We can only take them ourselves.

The Queen spoke ‘of what positive things can be achieved when people set aside past differences and come together in the spirit of friendship and reconciliation. And, as we all look forward to the start of a new decade, it’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.’

There has been much talk of deep division in our country since the Referendum. It strikes me that we actually have much more in common than anything that might divide us and that if we can all take some small steps of reconciliation we shall come together in exciting and unforeseen ways.

May this New Year bring you many blessings and may you share them with others.

+John