And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year

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2021,new year

From the Manse......

It was Queen Elizabeth (the Queen mother) who brought to her husband's attention a little know poem by Minnie Louise Haskins, entitled "God knows". Written in 1908 and privately published in 1912, it was part of a collection entitled "The Desert".

As a result, King George VI quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast that first December of the Second World war.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."
And he replied:
"Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way."
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

These words have understandably been used many times these past weeks as we looked to the dawning of 2021, wondering what the future might hold and surrounded with all the uncertainty, anxiety and worry of these days.

That though, is not the end of the poem — for it continues.....

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life's stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God's thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957)

Here, we find resonances to passages and sentiments of scripture, St. Paul and Isaiah being but two who immediately come to mind.

Echoes also of the words we have so recently shared in our Covenant service where we have handed over everything to God and placed our hope and trust in him, culminating in the acknowledgement and affirmation that "we are no longer our own but yours".

Whatever this year may bring we are not alone and we do not face it by ourselves. We are in this together; together as a community of faith and together as daughters and sons of God, (acknowledged or not).

We find comfort in the words of the hymn writer;
"But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day" and acknowledge as we do, that this too shall pass.

Until then, we commit ourselves to holding the Christ light for others even as they hold it for us.

With much love and God Bless

Keith

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