Rick Hill, Discipleship and Leadership Development Officer with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, has shared ten reflections on 2020:
- We need more than simple positivity that tritely looks for silver linings in everything or tries to proclaim it will all be better tomorrow. Sometimes it won’t. Life isn’t always an upward curve. People suffer. Grief is valid. Learn lament.
2. Community trumps content. I’ve become far less interested in perfection and polish, and much more drawn in by personal connection.
3. We need to shift how we engage with technology for the sake of our health – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. I made some adjustments this year but found it harder to restrict screen time in lockdown. Phone now off one hour each day and one day each week.
4. I witnessed a whole variety of church deal with uncertainty, wrestle with the best response for their context and use different methods to share wisdom and love. The church gets some stick but I’ve been blown away by the innovation and sharp response across the board in so many ways.
5. Family life has been more demanding this year but also felt more rewarding. We took more walks together, read more books together and played more games this year as a family. It’s been important to consider what we can do rather than what we can’t do.
6. Discipleship isn’t a download. A perfectly prepared meal on a screen might be more photogenic than what we can prepare, but it won’t nourish us in the same way food on our own table will. Create your own habits and rhythms. Don’t merely consume. Commit to community. There is no such thing as solo Christianity.
7. When we find ourselves as the minority in a culture, we need to engage with it not as warriors but farmers. Tend your own field, prepare the soil, plant seed and tend to growth. Choose patient resilience.
8. We always get to choose our response. Some go out of their way to encourage and some go out of their way to criticise. I know which one I want to be.
9. More than ever, truth really matters, and that involves a personal responsibility to consider the truth of what we read and share. In a world packed full of information, there is a greater need for wisdom, including being prepared to be more suspicious of our own biases.
10. All plans are written in pencil. Perhaps the greatest challenge is acknowledging that we aren’t in control. My personal prayer for 2021 is for a sharper mind and a softer heart. And to continue to remember that Jesus is still on his throne.