I am sure you all recognised the formula above the title… Something to do with the fraction of incident light reflected or transmitted. Glad I got that across. Dec. 21 (21/12 for us Europeans) is always an interesting date, shortest day in the northern hemisphere, date in 2005 when a group of friends ended in St Peter’s Sq. Rome at the end of a momentous walk from the UK, and for me a reminder each year. There was an event that I was sure would take place on Dec. 12 and would be a sign of the rise of a new apostolic wave. The event did not take place!!! OUCH! When that happens it is always disappointing, but somehow I was convinced I wasn’t wrong though all the evidence pointed that way. Long story… short version… I woke a couple of days later with the conviction that what I expected would take place on the mirror image of 12 (on the 21st) and would take place between 10.30 and 12.00 (Central European Time). Great when it took place right in that time gap. It marked in 2005 the beginning for me a realisation that what was to be expected would look almost like the reverse, but in reality if we learned how to see differently (mirror views?) we would be better prepared. [Maybe if I understood the formula in the image above the title that would have helped me? Or more likely if I learned how to be more reflective I might learn a bit quicker?] So here we are, soon to come to 2022, so a few reflections on this day, reflections that look forward.
A challenging end of year. I have been asked recently on a number of occasions to repeat, clarify or expand what I had suggested regarding the coming year. So here goes!
I suggested that a) 2021 would be a year when there would be some wiping of brows and a response of ‘we’re through that and at last we can get things back to where they were’, but that would prove to be a false hope and leave people disappointed just when they thought we were out the other side of the difficulties. And with regard to b) 2022 that we would encounter a number of setbacks that might not in themselves be enormous and manageable but stacked up they would prove to be of a greater challenge than the (COVID related) pressures of 2021.
A few notes first:
- Although I do not believe God is outside of time, s/he does not turn the calendar over month by month. Nevertheless because we live with a sense of ‘new day’, ‘new month’, ‘new year’ God communicates into our world, hence there is validity in talking of ‘2021’, ‘2022’ etc.
- Perhaps though we are better to see a group of months or years belonging to a season, and perhaps it is better to grasp these years as part of a season, rather than splitting them up to tightly.
- Individuals might experience something very different to someone else, in the words of Scripture there can be no rain across the area but rain comes to one field in spite of the drought (or vice versa).
- Nothing communicated concerning the future is to be a straight-jacket or taken as deterministic. Great trauma was predicted for Israel by Jesus, but he called his disciples to lift their eyes and avoid being embroiled in the trouble themselves.
- And finally, the somewhat tongue-in-cheek yet serious post I wrote on there being a broad way that leads to life indicates that we should not think of only one narrow option being there before us. Is there a right way? Probably a way that is more right than the others, but God goes where we go, our task is the relationship with God and the trust that God is with us. We can miss opportunities but the other side of our choice we continue with a God who is there to maximise what can come out of that choice.
I find the end of this year interesting. Throughout the COVID there have always been words such as ‘reset’, with the emphasis on a global reset. I hope some things have been reset but there are also many aspects, particularly in the economic realm that have accelerated in the direction they were moving in before. [And economics is the barometer of spiritual shift.] Maybe there is a continuation of what has come through COVID as we have not really responded to the reset? Or maybe enough has been reset that we can continue with the changes?
And who is the ‘we’? Well for me the body of Christ is responsible for the world, so there might be a big bad ‘we’ out there, but there is often an irresponsible ‘we’ in here… and inside that ‘we’ there is an ‘I’… so moving along very quickly!
I see the end of the year like a door that we pass through, and it is not too pleasant, with some of the greatest growth in daily infections being recorded, with the threat of lockdowns and increased restrictions. The door kind of indicates that what is the other side is not without its serious threat… but!
I still see a major battle concerning how we are going to be oriented. If we hold on to a hope that the past will simply return and we can get back to normal this will certainly not contribute to the future coming into place with ease, but will only prolong the delay and the trouble. Within it for those who, even without knowing what to do practically, have been inwardly asking and desiring whatever alignments to come into place, will find amazing heavenly help to take them there.
Some of the signs for the fresh alignments will have been / will be that there will not simply be new alignments but ones from the past will come back round but in a new setting; and that those alignments will in some way be a tool to open the ancient pathways. Ancient trade routes, ancient practices, ancient values, practices and wisdom, seem to be necessary to be uncovered.
And the future will also be signed there… situations that press their uncomfortable presence right inside the boundaries of one’s beliefs, one’s comfort zone… pressing in without our prior invite! The future cannot be seen through projection, it will be seen first distorted / mirror imaged before being seen clearly. It though has to be welcomed, the mess of it before it it understood. I am not talking about naively receiving whatever, but what has been / will be pressing right in on pre-set boundaries seems to be one of the main marking elements that this belongs to the future. (For some time I have been suggesting that the future is breaking in and it is messy. It is not coming with agreement by one and all, so consensus will not help us as an arbitrator in this.)
2022 then I see as coming in announcing itself with disruptions to the normal. The first few months being bumpy then with, at first a number of rumours that seem (phew!) to go away but (false phew earlier!) only for either what was rumoured or something akin to those rumours beginning to align, with the result that corporate bodies do not know quite how to respond. In the economic world incredible swings in very short periods. We are told to pray for governing authorities but we are not told to put our faith in them! That certainly would never have been the case in Paul’s days, with many of the apparent positive things stated being incredibly ironic statements…
The big corporate world of government / finance is not, for most of us, our companion, so what about 2022 and ourselves personally?
I guess I see it swinging in two directions. End of year door is here. I like doorways for how we go through them kinda determines what we step into. If we continue with the hope and prayer that we get a return to normal I consider we are on a wrong trajectory. Although chronologically we enter the future from where we are, I think the future arrives rather than we enter it, it comes to us… if we welcome it, make space for it; otherwise time is simply cyclical, reflective of dear Mr Ecclesiastes and ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ perspective. There are new things… new things to enter my life, and indeed to enter the world.
Yes the end of the year is an annoyance. ‘Here we go again’ with shutdown threats etc., new variant(s)… back to where we were, but not back to where I want it!
However, I am optimistic. For those who are allowing the inconvenient pressures to encroach and even ride rough shod over their nicely drawn boundaries I do believe a year ahead is one of opportunities. Doors, not one but multiple opening. No need to panic as to which to go through. If they present themselves simultaneously choose one. The others are not about to disappear and be lost. Even if they disappear for you they will remain open to someone else. Partnering, laughing together.
Quick answers to new burdens. I see an acceleration in responses. There is an unlocking of blockages to the river of life, and we should expect the waters of life to be flowing into areas where we thought the river does not go. ‘Wherever it goes it brings life’. Mirror imaging gives us sight also backwards… I have been struck by the invisibility of God when trudging forward. But looking back? God left Eden – that is a backward view. Only seen much later by the couple on the road to Emmaus. In one sense God has always been where we will discover his / her Presence to be but we have to go there to discover that.
A year of frustration, and year of ‘no not more of this’ and a year of opportunity, through entering the messy path that is the other side of this door. A walk in the mud is not too bad! There is a lot to see on the path.
No need to understand the formulas. The formulas might predict what could / should happen. Formulas are not enough.