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New Year’s message from The Presiding Bishop of The Gambia, The Methodist Church The Gambia and Chairperson of The Gambia Christian Council, The Most Reverend Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim

Jan 2, 2013, 10:19 AM

God’s Amazing Grace

A Happy and Blessed New Year 2013 Everyone. The year 2012 is ending and we are beginning the year 2013! What kind of year has 2012 been for you?  Was it a really good year? Or maybe it was the same as any other year? Or maybe 2012 was even a really bad year.

Think back, what kind of person were you during 2012?  Are there some regrets? How about your relationship with God?   Did your faith grow during 2012, or did your love for God and others run dry?

As we begin the year 2013, I invite us to reflect on a parable of Jesus. Here is the first part of the parable:

“Listen,” Jesus said. “A man has a fig tree and plants it in his vineyard.  Three years later he is making his way up and down his vineyard, he sees that the fig tree still does not have any fruit. He calls to his gardener.  Why is this tree still here?  It is taking up soil and moisture and space. Cut it down, right now.’”

Why should it keep taking up space, using up the goodness of the soil, if it is serving no purpose?  What is the point of having a tree that should bear fruit but does not?

In this Jesus is not just talking about a fig tree. He is talking about you and me.  We should ask ourselves, “Am I bearing fruit?” As human beings we are tempted to think: “Chop it down!”

But the second part of the parable continues like this:

“‘Leave the tree alone for one more year’, the gardener pleads, ‘I will dig around it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down’.”

And with that Jesus leaves his listeners to wonder at the generosity and the grace of the gardener. Jesus was talking about God and how God forgives us. God’s grace is amazing.

“Give the tree one more year”, the gardener in the vineyard said. God’s grace is amazing. The owner wanted to chop it down, but the gardener will show it some more care and give it another chance!  That is how the Spirit of God works in us—today.  There is a second chance. Amazing is God’s grace.

Be sure of this: Almighty God is faithful and is ready to bring us into and through 2013. With that knowledge, we can begin the New Year, ready to let him do the work only he can do for us. Let us thank Almighty God for his goodness, his love, mercy and grace! May he bless us with good health, long life and prosperity, and give us his peace. A happy and blessed New Year to you all!

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