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Ring Out Wild Bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92)
January Reflection

January. A New Year. Not a landmark year for me, just another one on the road to ….
To what? If we knew the answer to that question where would the excitement be? Last month we knew what was coming was Christmas and for most of December we were preparing, busying ourselves with baking, shopping, rehearsing, singing, writing cards and all the other thingsthat we thought we needed to do before Christmas.

Now it is over for another year and perhaps we can sit down and relax. As a little boy the time between Christmas and New Year was one of my favourite times. No school, no homework, parents not too busy, time to enjoy all the good things there had been at Christmas,to read new books and to play with new toys, those thatI hadn’t broken on Christmas morning of course! So how do we view the New Year?  Can we ask that question without talking about Brexit? Certainly we canand certainly we should.
As I write the political dramaof Brexit is still swirling around. Maybe it won’t happen after all. Maybe it will be delayed. Maybe the
Government will fall and a new Prime Minister will have to go back and start all over again with the EU.

Maybe we have changed our mind and we’ll have a secondreferendum. I much enjoy the comedy news quiz onthe BBC, Have I Got News For You. Sometimes I have to watch the repeat, which can be even funnier than the first showing if something happens between the first broadcast and the showing of the repeat, somethingto make the panellists appear ridiculous. So it is with
writing this reflection. As I write the House of Commons hasn’t yet even voted on the Brexit proposals so it’s not very sensible to be writing about them.

To return to my starting question, where are we heading,not as a country but each of us individually. We can onlybe responsible for what we individually do so what Resolutions have each of us made and have we managed
to keep them, even one of them? I expect that many of us will have resolved to do something “good”, to try to improve some aspect of our life, our health or our behaviour.

I have just read the recently published biography of Lord Carrington, the former Foreign Secretary who resigned over the Falklands War in the 1980’s. He was widely regarded then (and still is) as having done the honourable thing. What the biography makes clear is that Carrington led a life of great privilege but because of that he felt strongly that he had to devotehis life to public service. His privilege had to be paid for not just enjoyed. He didn’t need to work to pay his mortgage but he needed to work to try to justify his placein the society of the time. Many of us lead lives of privilege, not quite in the way that Lord Carrington enjoyed but certainly compared with those disadvantaged in this country and especially with many less fortunate in other countries. Perhaps one of our Resolutions this New
Year should be for each of us to find a way to offer some public service. In doing so we might find the answer to my first question and discover what joy 2019 holds for us.

Tim Mead

Meth church

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