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Viewpoint from Father John Bloomfield 17/01/2020

Dove rightFather John Bloomfield
priest in charge of the Flegg Coastal Benefice

 

as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury

 

When I was in secondary education, we had to use a fountain pen in our exercise books. Biros were only allowed in our ‘rough books’ as the books were called which we used to make our notes. Twice a week the stationery cupboard was open where we could get new exercise books when the current one was full, having been signed off by the subject teacher. I always loved my new exercise books, and I always wondered how long it would be before I spoilt the book with an ink blot or a mistake
 
I always look at January as a new exercise book. A new start with a new year is similar to being given that brand new book without any blots, any crossing outs, or mistakes. But how long will it be before we do make a mistake and the equivalent of a blot or crossing out mars the new year?
 
dove leftCustoms change; we maintain ideas but reshape our understanding of those customs. Baptism is one such sacrament of the church. Originally only adults were baptized; it was the beginning of the Christian journey, the old life left behind with a wonderful new life with God stretching out in front of the Christian. The waters of baptism washed away the sins and mistakes and one could begin again, a rebirth, a being born again
 
But the church soon had to confront the realities of life. In spite of a new beginning, and in spite of God’s grace given in Baptism people failed to live the perfect life, they still made (and still do make) mistakes.  The blots and crossings out continue in life. We have the hope and belief in God’s mercy. Although we make mistakes in life and often fail miserably to live the perfect life God wants us to enjoy, we fail
 
The only way to keep the brand new exercise book free from blots and mistakes is not to use it, but that defeats the object of having the book. It’s a parallel with life. In living we have to risk making mistakes and get on with living. For anyone who seeks to live the Christian life we can always come back to God, admit our mistakes, express sorrow for them and ask for grace to do better next time. This must be good news for all of us. Without his mercy life would be overwhelmed with all the blots and crossings out
 


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