Open our eyes

Introducing our Theme for 2024

Regional Minister, Phil Jump shares more about our Annual Focus

Our annual theme offers itself as a focus for our work and vision in the year ahead. It seeks to reflect our experience of working alongside churches through the challenges and opportunities that have come our way, and also considering what the coming year might entail. One of the key themes in John's Gospel is 'seeing'. It's opening stanzas include the declaration 'We have seen his glory!' a reality that echoes throughout the rest of the narrative. When Jesus kneels to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, he speaks of this moment as a time that has come - a time to reveal God's glory. History and tradition would have generated an expectation that God's glory would be encountered through some great and awe-inspiring expression of majesty - yet it is through the agony and humiliation of a Roman execution that this is made known. Time and time again in the Gospel narratives, those who thought they could recognise the things of God found themselves at odds with the work and ministry of Jesus - God's presence and will doesn't always conform to our human expectations - our eyes need to be open to God's agenda - not our own.

Many of the events we have seen unfolding in our world, and much of what is happening around us will raise numerous concerns and questions. We can all too easily assume to know the rights and wrongs of such realities, but our faith story teaches us that God often acts and speaks in ways and through circumstances that we do not expect. 2024 will also face us with some significant decisions about our own identity and direction - here too it is important that we seek God's way together rather than simply following our own instincts. The shared prayer that we offer is that God will open our eyes to see what we should see and recognise where God is leading us. 'Open our eyes' serves also as a challenge that we do not become so pre-occupied by our prescribed agendas, that we overlook where God might be at work and what God might be saying through other circumstances and realities.

From our 2023 Christmas Card

Our theme for the coming year was also the basis of the message inside our 2023 Christmas Card

Our eyes have seen
The rulers of this earth's empires -
Self-professed gods,
Summoning the oppressed to their cities of origin,
To be counted, contained, and controlled.

Our eyes have seen
The doors of selfish hospitality,
Slammed shut in the faces of those,
Who in their greatest moment of need,
Are left to bear new life elsewhere.

Our eyes have seen
The band of half-cut shepherds,
Ranting their tales of angels, messiahs and mangers.
Making little sense,
Yet convinced of a new salvation's dawn.

Our eyes have seen
The panicked departure,
Of a family running for their lives,
In the face of mindless slaughter,
Crossing borders in search of refuge and shelter.

And for those with faith that dares to believe
There remains a timeless hope to declare.
That in the midst of this world’s chaos and pain,
Our eyes have seen His glory
The glory of the One and Only.

Our theme from 2023

You can still find some of the resources from our 2022 Theme 'Sharing God's Treasure' through this link

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Remembrance and Remembering

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