If the village grapevine is as good as I suspect it is, you will all know by now that this article is my last. I have resigned from my post as team vicar due to ill health caused by lack of time to handle its many different demands. I took my last service on Sunday 31 December. During my all-too-brief time here I have come to love the villages of Crowmarsh and Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, their churches and their people. You have always made both Adrian and me, feel welcomed and appreciated and we have both loved living and working amongst you.
When things do not turn out as we expected them to, it often leads us to question ourselves and God. Was I misled in thinking this was the place God wanted me? Why has it proved to be far more difficult than I ever imagined? Could I/should I have done it differently?
The start of a new year reminds me that God does not see things as we see them. He has a way of working with the things that we get right and the things that we get wrong, whatever the reasons. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28 "All things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to his purpose."
As the old year passes with its experiences both good and bad, with its successes and its failures, a new year beckons. God also beckons, asking us to put behind us all that is wrong by seeking for his forgiveness and inviting us to start afresh and to seek his grace and his guidance as we look to the future. He did it in Christ and he does it time and time again in the lives of his people.
Next time you look at a piece of tapestry and admire the picture, turn it over and look at the back. The knots, the criss-crosses, the untidiness can all be seen; it is out of this tangled web that the skilled craftsperson weaves a masterpiece.
God is in the business of redemption, of putting to rights what human beings get wrong, and of weaving all that happens into his grand design for us and for the world. May God bless you all as you begin a new year and the churches as they begin a new chapter of their life and ministry in the villages.