Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
- Weekly Pastoral Message -

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"Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42

Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 4th January 1998

From the Pastor: A Calendar Message

"This month ... shall be the first month of the year to you." Exodus 12:2

It's that time of the year again, to take down our old calendars and replace them with the 1998 versions. New pictures will adorn the walls, new sets of dates must be remembered, while the fall of particular days and periods will need to be noted.

Our own calendar wherein January is our first month, is the legacy of ancient Rome, whereas the late March new year was typical of many ancient cultures, Israel's included. However, Israel had a particular reason to designate this point as its new year: at this time they remembered how God had redeemed them from the slavery of Egypt and brought them out of that land. It had nothing to do with the cycle of agriculture, but pointed back to a historical salvation, and commemorated with the Passover.

In the same vein, lest the changing of our calendars be a merely mechanical exercise, remember the great facts of redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ: His Incarnation, His Atoning work, His resurrection. The very dating system we use (and that too has a story behind it) testifies to the historical reality of that redemption.

Furthermore, every passing year brings us closer to the final accomplishment of that redemption, when our Lord returns in glory. Will 1998 bring that climactic event? We do not know, but we can say that it is closer now than it has ever been (Romans 13:11). This should fill us with excitement, but awe and apprehension at the same time: we long to see Him whom we have loved and trusted, but we remember the judgment which will come with that event (2 Thesselonians 1:7).

Thus the changing of the calendar is a "spiritual" exercise, to thank the Lord for what is past, and to look forward to His Coming.

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Caulfield Evangelical Methodist Church
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