(Article by ASD reproduced from the Sudbury Mercury newspaper)
Around the New Year I was visiting family in Hastings and went for a walk on a particularly wet and windy day. Traipsing through the soggy half-closed streets in the old town I noticed a scruffy looking arrow sign for a Retro Shop. I felt it needed following. Now calling something retro means we can admire old junk and feel good about it or, if you prefer a kinder definition, it’s coolness on a budget.
What happened next was totally unexpected. On entering the small, dull-lit shop I saw staring at me in the vinyl records section a long-forgotten favourite LP (Long Player for the download generation).
There is a particular track on it from ‘the first lady of song’, Ella Fitzgerald, called All of Me. Now I know I am being objectionably subjective, but it has to be the best ever version of the Marks and Simon classic. It has the most amazing vocal arrangement and a startling performance to match. Quite frankly, there’s not much not to like?
Trying not to give away my excitement I sauntered casually up the counter to the young guy chewing gum and asked how much he wanted for this scruffy old record. “Six quid!”
“I’ll take it!” After asking for a waterproof bag I hurriedly left and rejoined the battering winds and rain on the seafront almost kicking my heels in the air with unabashed delight. Almost.
Finding something we want in life is an amazing experience. But rediscovering something that has brought us joy in the past can be equally as satisfying, if not more.
Jesus talks at length about lost things: lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son and lost opportunities. This is what he does when he wants to make a big point and not lose his audience. He gives us a perfect picture of joy recovered. In this case a relationship with God the Father.
Losing our joie de vivre isn’t good. Our joylessness can become the lens in which everything else in life is viewed through. Some would say it makes us hard, cynical, untrusting and emotionally cold towards others. Whatever it does, it is a bad place to be.
It is not that life doesn’t continue, but it is just not as rewarding or fulfilling as it could be. We may not even be aware that something is missing from our lives.
So what’s to be done as we begin a New Year? Well, at this point Christians tend to listen closely to the Bible’s words where it utters, “the joy of the Lord is our strength”. We get on our knees, do some ‘carpet time’ and spill our hearts out to God, because we think there is something in prayer. Why not give it a go for yourself and see what happens?
Meanwhile, if you have lost the number for your local church you can find a full list here.