As we start this New year, my ears have been assaulted by all the debate about the Church of England now allowing gay men in Civil Partnerships to become bishops, as long as they remain celibate and renounce previous sexual activity. This has been the stance for allowing gay men to become ordained for some time and just extends the ruling to those called to be bishops.
At the same time as this was going on, there were the announcements about the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. The Radio 4 programme iPM awards its own New Year’s Honour, to someone nominated by its listeners. This year the award went to Stu Thomson, a youth worker working on a deprived South London estate, to offer the young people there an alternative to drug and gang culture and lives
of extreme violence. You can listen to the interview by clicking here.
Mr Thomson sounds like a very reluctant hero and clearly is very committed to this challenging work of turning around the lives of young people. What impressed me the most though was his motivation for doing this work. In the same understated manner he used to describe the day to day challenges of his role, he talked about how he believed God had called him to leave retail work in Cardiff and move to London to work with these young people.
At the beginning of the New Year, it was thought provoking and humbling to hear the story of a man so willing to listen to God’s call and to use that as a basis for trying to make a difference in the lives of others, no matter how difficult or
even futile it might seem to others.
For me, this is what being a Christian means. Hearing God’s call in our lives and working with others to make a difference. When so much of what we hear in the media just seems to be about who isn’t allowed to serve God, it is heartening to remember that millions of Christians all over the world are quietly working to bring a bit of heaven here on earth - today and every day.
May you hear God’s call in your life this year and may it be a rich blessing to you.