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Happy new year from the Rectory 

CHRIS TERRY 2Rev Canon Chris Terry
Team Rector, Great Yarmouth Minster

Is there a point where you become old? Clearly there are physical changes that affect all of us. Changes to eyesight, hearing, strength, and stamina are things that we all have to cope with as we age. Gone are the days when I could be home from Midnight Mass in the early hours and happily sing ‘Christians awake salute the happy morn’ at the 8.00am Holy Communion without feeling the effects later on that afternoon!

Does becoming old have more to do with the moment when the memories of how things were in the past begin to have a greater significance than the possibilities for the future? A process that might begin when modern technology becomes too baffling to use? Or is that simply a sign of the complexity of our modern gadgets? Once I used the old large computer 8” floppy discs with a memory capacity of 1.2mb today it is possible to buy micro SD cards that will hold 64 GB of data. Even so today I store my files in the ‘Cloud’ so that it is possible to get access literally anywhere in the world. Yes I do find it exciting to see the ways that things are changing and that today it is possible to control your heating from a mobile phone

The start of the New Year is the time when traditionally we look to the future. In our faith we too should be looking forward. The Christian life is often regarded as a pilgrimage which implies a journey that should take us forward not back to where we have been. Going from one place to another constantly looking for the changes that will deepen our faith. The Biblical witness of pilgrimage is best illustrated by the journey of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land. It was not an easy journey and many times they faltered on the way as at Mount Sinai. Their greatest failings however were the times when they looked to return to where they had come, when they looked to the past and not to the future
It is possible today to make a physical pilgrimage walking to an important shrine. Finding in the journey the time to reflect on the meaning of faith. In the physical exertion finding spiritual growth. Frs Grant and Frank and Carolyn will, at the end of the month, be going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Bishop Graham. I found visiting the Holy Land an amazing experience to walk in the places where Jesus had been, literally walking in his footsteps which is surely the definition of being a disciple
It is possible to make pilgrimage without actually physically moving. Through prayer, bible study, time for reflection we can seek to daily align ourselves to the changing patterns in the way that God is revealed in our lives and in the life of the world around us. It is a journey that should take us forward and our age does not matter. It is equally possible to deepen one’s faith in old age as in the first flush of youth. Hopefully you will not be looking back at a past that has gone. The key point is to look forward with hope and expectation. At the start of this New Year will you be making a resolution to move forward in your faith in the coming twelve months and keep to it beyond January?

Happy New Year Fr Chris

reporduced from Parish Life and used with permission