New Year’s Message 2017 – by The Most Reverend Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim, Presiding Bishop of The Gambia, The Methodist Church The Gambia

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

3  and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour. (Isaiah 61: 1-3)

This message from the prophet Isaiah announces the Year of the Lord’s Favour.  Isaiah Chapter 61 verse 1 -3 tells us that our healing is in God. Jesus, the Prince of Peace fulfils this prophecy as Luke 4:14-19 tells us.  The year of the Lord’s favour comes alive in us, if and when we welcome Jesus into our hearts and lives; the love of Jesus reconciles us with God and with one another. Jesus’ love renews our relationship with God, and as we love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength, and as we love our neighbours as ourselves, we are empowered to work for peace, reconciliation and forgiveness and to resist the temptation to hate others, and so we are able to dispel the darkness of aggression, violence, war and conflict.   In Jesus Christ we have peace, extraordinary peace as we read in the Gospel of John Chapter 14 verse 27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives”.  God wants to give us peace because he loves us.

The Year of the Lord’s favour and Supernatural Miracles in Isaiah’s prophecy is still relevant and significant for us today. That is why as we celebrate the New Year, we remember God’s love for all and that for God all things are possible.

2017 is the Year of God’s favour and the year of Supernatural Miracles.  This year is also a year of expecting God’s healing, so it seems only fitting that it is called the Year of the Lord’s favour and the year of Supernatural Miracles.  A miracle is a great and strong sign of the love of God and many people associate the sign of supernatural miracles with “God’s instant healing and peace ” in all areas of life.  We are looking forward to a blessed and profitable New Year. We pray that everyone uses his or her talent and achieves success in 2017.  

This message also goes to the Gambian community wherever they are, that we are strong, because we share heritage that goes back thousands of years, working together through generations for a better today and tomorrow. 

We thank God for all workers from every area of life such as businesses, teachers, students, farmers and all occupations.  The nation has greatly benefited from them and from us being one people - Gambians, and that means that together, we all have a part to play in building a strong and better Gambia for present and future generations.

The New Year also reminds us that the Gambia has always drawn strength from the rich and diverse cultures and traditions of people from all different ages and backgrounds.  This is at the centre of who we are.  It is the reason why we are and must continue standing and working together to ensure everyone has an opportunity to forge ahead in the future. 

Let us continue to pray for our young people and continue to encourage them to take advantage of the opportunity to learn, serve and contribute to the nation.  If you are a young person who feels like you are living in despair, take courage and take advantage of the opportunity of God’s favour and love, and his supernatural miracles.  The Gambia needs you and your talents.

Let us continue to bring aspiration and optimism to the next generation and continue to inspire all Gambians and all who live and work in the Gambia to work for the common good.  We need one another to give us hope for this Year of the Lord’s favour and Supernatural Miracles.  Let us comfort and heal all who suffer in body, mind or spirit; and give them courage and hope in their troubles and bring the joy of God to them.

In the year of the Lord’s favour and Supernatural miracles, we hope that all of us can pursue opportunity and success. 

Let us continue to pray for God to direct our nation and let us pray for the President and President Elect and all nations and peoples of the world, so that we all will continue to exercise wisdom and love and to continue to work for peace, reconciliation and forgiveness. Let us continue to honour one another, show kindness and respect, to all and to live and work for peace and unity.

I wish everyone celebrating and welcoming the New Year a happy and joyful time.  May this be a Year of Supernatural Miracles and may it bring you prosperity happiness and good health for you and your families, and a year of progress and further development for the Gambia that we all love.

God bless The Gambia.  God bless you all.

Source: Picture: The Most Rev Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim