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A view from the Vicarage - January

Happy New Year! Well the season of indulgence ends with Epiphany on the first weekend of 2018, and it is a time for reflection. We look back on this Christmas and think of all the memories we will treasure and those we’d rather forget! Did you choose to overspend, in the belief that lots of stuff under the tree would bring greater joy? Did you choose to overeat, and indulge in all those fabulous goodies that tempted us? Did you choose to make any New Year resolutions?

Life is all about choices. From the very beginning, God gave us free will to choose the directions for our lives. God chose to create and in that choice, He opted to create Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—perfect man with perfect woman in the perfect place. It was His expression of love, but as we all want to be loved by another, choice had to be part of the plan.

God could have programmed Adam and Eve to love Him, but that defeats the notion that love is special when it is chosen. We choose whom we will love, and that reflects our free will. So, when someone chooses to love us, that makes it special, but it also makes us aware of the consequences of our choices. If we behave in a manner which causes upset or harm to others, then we are probably precluding those people from loving us. If we choose to overspend, then we face the consequences of the bills arriving this month. With a limited or fixed income, we must choose what to spend it on each month. To pay off the excess spending means we must choose what not to buy this month, and we might not like those choices!

If we choose to overeat, then we face the consequences of getting on the scales and seeing the damage. Now we must choose: do I carry on overeating and get fatter and fatter, or do I start choosing the right foods to eat to maintain good health and shed those pounds?

Then we make resolutions. Control spending this year? Get control over my weight this year? Control my attitude and reactions to be a more lovable person this year? Choices! And choice means getting control of our free will. I don’t know about you, but I certainly need a foundation on which to base my choices. I need a foundation which is solid and reliable; not fickle and malleable with every fad which comes into fashion.

I searched and experimented, until I finally realized that I’d had it from childhood; something introduced to me by my parents. That was God. I looked at all the alternatives and weighed the pros and cons of each, and none of them could hold a candle to God. I read the Bible (and continue to read it) because it was His story (and ours). I finally understood the depth of His love in His Creation, and my place in it. I understood how special His love is for me, and in my appreciation, I could choose to love Him back. That’s what showed me the power and need for free will. He chose to love me, and I choose to love Him.

God loved me so much He sent His Son to be born at this time, to grow into adulthood showing us the Father’s love, and then to die on the Cross that I might be set free from the eternal punishment my wrong choices deserve. That gift of mercy and grace is there for all, but we must choose it. We have to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and then

receive eternal life in God’s Kingdom, or we can choose not to accept it and then face the consequence of eternal separation (otherwise known as hell) from God’s love in His Eternal Kingdom.

Once I chose Jesus, I had my foundation for life. That helps me to choose what I want in my life, and then I make choices I hope will reflect God’s love in a way that will draw others to Him. Sometimes I get it wrong, but then I remember that’s part of God’s plan—free will. I can then choose to correct the error, or I can choose to continue down the wrong path and face the consequences. Free will is about control and that is based on choice. What is your foundation? If other ways have not proven satisfactory, why not try God this year? His love is amazing, and His ways are a sure foundation for life. Come and join His family at St Chad’s every Sunday morning.

Rev. Don Alcock Telephone: 01630 647 911 Email:

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