January 2016 – New Year Resolutions


I have never been much of a person for new year resolutions.  It is not so much that I lack willpower, rather I am a bit hyperactive, so tend to get on with things as soon as I think of them, rather than getting to set points in the year and thinking I need to do something special.


And other the problem with new year resolutions is that they are very easy to break.  We tend to make them in a fit of optimism, often in the light of excesses of the Christmas season, and often whilst we are still on holiday.


Back at work, with all the pressures of regular life to contend with, those ambitious goals can be hard to meet.


But that said, I do think it is sometimes useful for all of us to take stock of where we are, look at what we are doing if life and see whether we should be making any changes.


The Book of Common Prayer is often seen as very old fashioned these days, and whilst it is true that its language can be a bit hard to follow at times, it has what I believe to be the most straightforward and easy to understand confession ever written.


We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.


Does that not address every aspect of our lives, from eating too much chocolate to not visiting our relatives enough?  From missing our slimming class to murder?  In 25 words, Cranmer found a way of expressing everything we could ever get wrong in our relationship with others, and with God.


So maybe when we are taking stock of our lives, we should use Cranmer’s 25 words as our guidance.  You see they are not in churchy language, they are not ambiguous, they are terrifyingly direct.


Perhaps this year our new year resolution should be to every day say those words to ourselves, and really think.


What have I done today that I should not have done?


What should I have done today that I haven’t?


We shouldn’t then beat ourselves up over what has gone wrong, but we should try to learn from it, and hopefully live our next day better.


And maybe we should add another question:


What has happened today that I should be thankful for?


Because when we are truly thankful for what God has given us, and are honest about our failings, we will have really made a difference in this new year.


Best wishes,    


Malcolm Wearing