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By Reverend Roger Carr-Jones, Marriage & Family Life Coordinator, Diocese of Westminster

The past year has felt as though it has been full of challenges, sorrows and disappointments as our accepted way of living and acting has adapted to life in a pandemic. Yet in reality the term ‘new normal’ applies to every single new day, which is unlike the last and always open to an encounter with the living God. Last January we gathered as a community in Westminster Cathedral to launch the ‘Year of the Word’.  Rather than simply being a celebration of the anniversary of Jerome’s translation of the bible into Latin, or other milestones, it was a reminder that the Word of God is alive and active, shaping our lives with each and every encounter.  As we reflect on the past year, in what ways has that Word helped shaped our understanding of the pandemic, drawn us into new insights and provided the strength to face the difficulties?

Last January we invited a variety of voices from across our diocesan family to share a piece of scripture that had either touched their lives at a specific moment, or had been a well-spring that they returned to again and again. Even where the same passage was selected the individual reflections were unique, heart-warming and transforming. Each sharing allowed a short glimpse into the lives of those who were willing to share.

We recall hearing the proclamation of the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew’s Gospel from the Campanile Bell Tower at Westminster Cathedral, with the words swept outside by the wind, resounding against the buildings and raining down on the city. Hearing the opening words from St John’s gospel highlighted the centrality of God’s love for us and the connection of a teacher and their school community beautifully portrayed in the words of John 15 (the true Vine). At that time Bishop Nicholas shared the words from the closing passage of St John’s gospel, which had been his choice for his ordination both as a priest and bishop. Each time he heard these words it reconnected him to those moments and more importantly his onward journey.

As we begin this New Year of renewed hope in God’s presence in our lives, we will be revisiting how the Word of God is shaping our journey. For some we will invite them to revisit their favourite passage, to see how those words are now being heard in a new way, or to share a further passage that touches their heart. To begin this exploration of the ‘God Who Speaks’ we invited Bishop Nicholas to share some further words and thoughts. These can be listened to in the attached video. Those words ‘in you we place our trust’ have so much to offer all of us as we begin to discern what world we will help build and grow after the pandemic. Until then rest in these words and find a moment in your day to reflect on which words of scripture speak to you now, with hope, at this time.

We are very grateful that Bishop Nicholas Hudson for providing a reflection on words from St Paul's Letter to Timothy and from the closing words of the Te Deum.