From the Clergy
Here we are in September already, two thirds of the way through the year. In the old Roman Calendars, used until the Gregorian Calendar was adopted in the sixteenth century, September was the seventh of ten months. The month is named from the Latin ‘septem’ meaning seven. Now, of course it is the ninth month of twelve.
Even though we are so far through 2018, September, for many people will be a time of new beginnings. In the meteorological calendar, 1st September is the first day of autumn – if you live in the southern hemisphere it is the first day of spring. In the Eastern Orthodox Church September marks the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year. In this country it is the beginning of a new academic year. Many pupils will go into new classes with different teachers while others will start formal education for the first time and some will move to secondary school, college or university.
I don’t know about you, but I used to love being given new exercise books at the start of the new school year. I would do my best to keep them clean and make sure my work was neat and tidy. Of, course as the term went on, mistakes were made, crossing out and corrections were necessary, and books became worn with use and being carried around in school bags. My Mother, who was born in 1920, remembered using a slate when she first started school. If mistakes were made they were easily erased and, of course, when the work had been checked by the teacher the slate would be cleaned ready for the next exercise. Each lesson and each day the pupils would start with a clean slate.
The term clean slate has come to denote making a fresh start, no account is taken of anything that has happened before. Any previous mistakes or failures are forgotten. This is an important concept in the Christian faith. Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection, has wiped the slate clean for all who put their trust in him. When we find ourselves making mistakes or doing wrong he is always there to forgive, wipe the slate clean and welcomes us as we ask forgiveness and turn around to focus our lives on God once more. Our past life is dealt with and forgotten and, as St Paul puts it in his letter to the Christians at Corinth over 2000 years ago:
“…..what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins.” (2 Corinthians 5: 17 – 19a) (The Message Version of the Bible)
We do not have to wait for the start of a new year or a new school year. At any time we can turn to Jesus Christ and make a fresh start, a new beginning.
Every blessing. Patricia