Reflections: Rev Gillian Paterson

Rev Gillian Paterson
Rev Gillian Paterson

HOW’S the new fitness routine going? Or the diet?

Are all your new year resolutions still in place? If they are, then you are probably one of the few!

Each year, a friend of mine tells me well in advance what his new year’s resolution is going to be and, by this time, it will probably be broken (again), as he usually makes the same one each year.

He is one of the kindest and funniest people I know, but is always striving to be, in his words, a “better person”.

By this, he means he won’t get grumpy at work despite the stress, or moan about his in-laws even when they drive him up the wall.

I expect we could all put ourselves in his shoes, especially when we think of what might push us to the limit.

Yet resolving to be a “better person” is something we can all aspire to, whether it is January or any other time of the year.

My prayer for our community for 2013 is that we can all be good neighbours for one another.

Taking time to get to know each other, caring about our situation and having a mutual respect for beliefs and cultures is so important in today’s world, particularly where tensions exist between countries and communities.

Jesus taught us to be a good neighbour. He taught us to love one another as we would want to be loved. His whole ministry was built around stories of love, joy, hope, peace and respect.

For example, we can learn a lot from the father who welcomed home his son, even though he had let him down dreadfully.

Instead of showing him the door, he threw a party to share the joy of his son’s return.

At the beginning of this new year, we can all make a difference to those around us by showing we are interested and value them.

Why not take a moment to encourage a young person by asking them about school or college, or engaging someone in conversation about their life and how it is going?

Could you visit an elderly person, or help someone out who is struggling?

Time is a precious commodity but it is one of the best gifts we can give.

If we all took more time for our neighbours, the love, joy, hope, peace and respect that Jesus spoke of would become a reality for us all.

What a wonderful answer to prayer that would be.