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Nuwe, Jaded, New, Nou, Nový, Nouveau, Nua, Novus, Nuevo, Ùr, Kusha, Nyowani, Novo, Happy New Year!

Most of you know of my fascination with language and etymology (nothing to do with insects).

All these words mean “NEW” in different languages and dialects. They all mean the same thing but sound differently.

How many times, especially as a younger person, have you wished for a new start? The desire to “do it all over again” and clear up any mess made is a basic, fundamental human urge.

We all make mistakes.

When we are young they seem to haunt us with the consequences. As we get older some of us develop broader shoulders, some of us duck’s backs and we learn to “roll with the blows and ride with the tide.”

I remember so many times in my own 72 years that I have brought about a circumstance about which I immediately feel regret and wish I could wake in the morning and go back to squire one. Life is not like that though. Here we are at the beginning of a new year and a new decade and the celebrations on New Years Eve are often fuelled by a feeling of enthusiasm and euphoria at the prospect of a new beginning; a feeling that is soon washed away by 7th or 8th of January when the bills still come in and we have to return to work or school!

Before I came back to faith I thought that the expression “born again Christian” was an Americanism invented by Evangelist preachers like the late, great Dr. Billy Graham. It was only after my own personal conviction of my Christian faith that I realised the Biblical implications of the whole thing about being “born again."

Even in my own church, when I was brought to Govilon as a priest in 2011 I remember hearing someone in the congregation ( who obviously did not know that I had good hearing ) say to someone, ” Watch this one. He is a born-again Christian.”

We even sing about this is the Christmas carols that tell us:

Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth Hark! the herald angels sing: "Glory to the newborn King!"

You see even the carol writers understood Jesus’ mission.

“I have come that they may have life” John 10:10 and He is not talking about birth but RE-BIRTH!

Jesus Christ gives us the opportunity to wipe the slate clean as we have wished to do so often.

Not only to wipe the slate clean but to live with clean hands for the rest of our lives until we join Him for eternity. Difficult to understand? Yes! Of course but that is the basis of our Christian faith. "Where is your evidence??" I hear the scoffers say?

If I had evidence other than in my own heart I would not need faith.

Paul in his seminal letter to the Roman church says this:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”.

And, as if to confirm this, he then writes to the church in Corinth, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Awesome words from two awesome letters contained in an awesome book but what a way to begin a New Year.

Do you feel heavy hearted at the things that you have done and not been able to undo?

Do you beat yourself over the head at friendships damaged by you or relationship broken by you?

Do you wish you could start again and wipe the slate clean?

Well, here is the Good News. You can! You can do what I did in my middle years and what many Christians have done throughout the world in homes, workplaces, churches, prisons the Armed services or any service and ask God to forgive you.

It reallly is that simple.

Hey, you don’t even need a Priest, Vicar, Rector or any other person. Just speak to God in private and ask Him to forgive you!

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”Psalm 52

This was the prayer of King David when he had sinned, massively and God answered his prayer.

Wipe the slate clean today and start anew.

Bring a fresh “You” into the world.

Become a new creation.

Be born-again.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3

What a way to start 2020!

God bless you all and if you have no faith yet then may your heart and spirit be broken and reborn.

Fr Chris

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