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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

28 December 2016: Susanne Irving, Life Church Petersfield

Wishing you a thoughtful new year

As many people have already commented, 2016 has been an unsettling, turbulent year. We know that issues do not automatically resolve themselves just because we enter a new year, so many of us set positive new year resolutions. However, most do not stick.

Looking back over the past year, I had the best intentions when I set my vision and goals. However, I often got distracted, and the way I habitually think sabotaged my efforts. Yet events in 2016 have illustrated once again that it matters how you and I think. Words are not neutral, but have power for good or for ill, and the words we speak and actions we take or do not take are shaped by what we pay attention to.

The apostle Paul advised a fledgling church to focus on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (Letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, verse 8).

We live in an age where we are bombarded with selective information. News is more likely to be reported if it is negative. We consciously have to search for signs of hope. It takes effort to discern and sift what we are reading, listening to and looking at – yet can we afford to be passive consumers? Imagine what changes we might see if we all made an effort to put Paul’s advice into practice.

See (and listen to) Carols around Petersfield and the PACT Carols Service and see photographs of the Christmas Day Lunch

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