Roman god Janus, after which this month is named, famously has two faces. One face looks back at the year that has been, the other looks forward to what the next year might bring. At this time of year this wiblog also seems to sprout two faces. Both of them point in the same direction, which makes things a bit unsightly and uncomfortable, but they both seem to want different things in the year ahead.
Face #1’s cheerfully sarcastic hopes for 2004 include Weebl and Bob T-shirts, Half Man Half Biscuit to play Greenbelt, and for Latin to be a close second to Welsh as the language of choice for computer software.
Face #2, however, looks up from his ill-used NIV in which he still can’t find Joel without using the index, and ponders his rather less frivolous hopes for the year ahead.
‘The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord…’
It’s probably true to say that 2003 saw more public disunity (or, at least, widely publicised disunity) within the Anglican Communion than any other time within #2’s memory. Some say he shouldn’t care so much about such things, as he’s no part of the Communion himself, but he knows that Anglicans are for most, and certainly for the media, the face of Christianity where he comes from. As far as he’s concerned, anything that affects people’s perception of them affects people’s perception of Christianity in general. And for most of 2003, that has been a Bad Thing.
It’s also true to say that said media feeds on disunity far more than on unity. He compares the blanket coverage of the fall-out from Gene Robinson’s ordination with the few column inches given to the church’s relatively united stand on the war in Iraq. But, for 2004, he would really, really like to see the church at large become more united than divided. He is convinced, as wiser men than him have pointed out, that 2003 gave little to celebrate in those terms. He’s not convinced, in a world where congregations fall out over matters as ultimately trivial as music-playing and church magazines, that 2004 will be any better in that regard. But he fervently hopes it will be.
As #2 muses, he realises that he doesn’t do his bit to promote unity as he should. As the sermon he heard last Sunday at HMBC pointed out, unity is something to be prayed for and worked for. He’s acutely aware that he gets on with some Christians better than others, even those that literally sing from the same hymn sheet as him. So for now he’ll leave the Church at large to decide who it should make its clergy, and whether it’s worth them splitting over that. He personally prays and resolves (it is, after all, a time for resolutions) to see beyond the trivial in 2004, and make a greater effort to embrace what unites him with every other single Christian.
What was it that did that again? Ah yes…
‘The Church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is His new creation,
by water and the word:
from heaven He came and sought her
to be His holy bride;
with His own blood he bought her,
and for her life He died.’
Which, when it comes down to it, is a little bit more significant than flower rotas.
Happy New Year.