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The Word on the Week

New Year’s Resolutions

You can tell it’s that time again. The gym is packed and you can barely get into the swimming pool! All those mince pies and high living have taken their toll and now comes the gritting of the teeth and the resolve to do it properly this time and see the results in a return to the vigour of youth – dream on!

It was a pack-out in the men’s changing room of the Markievicz Baths which are located behind the church premises at Grace. No better place to study the changing men’s fashions. Gone are the body piercing for metal regalia of recent years and in is the art work of multiple tattoos of figures and designs.

In the past people were content with the odd tattoo illustrating some fantasy now the drawings are “wall to wall”!

Previously it was torso only but arms and legs have been enlisted to make multiple statements. To heighten the dramatic effect colour has been added so that the old fire breathing dragon, so cherished by yesterday’s hard men, now really breathes fire. Red flames leap across the chest impervious to the tepid waters of the swimming pool.

In what must be the quirkiest item I have seen was the bloke next to me in the changing room who had a line of music (without the words) written across his back. This stood out over against his more usual display of knights in armour so I had to ask what caused this lapse in the macho image. Apparently the guy is a fan of Robbie Williams and had dedicated a place on his back to a line in one of his songs. To my regret I didn’t find out which song it was and was left wondering if it could have been the recent addition to his repertoire called “Losers”?!

The Bible does not have much to say about decorating our body but what it does say is to the point, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord” Leviticus chapter 19 verse 28. Apparently these were practices performed by pagan peoples when mourning for their dead. God’s people, Israel, were to be different and so it is for Christians today.

When a person turns from their sins and commits their life to Christ they bring with them the marks of the old life. Some of the more visible are the tattoos which will not wash off. These now become reminders of the past and, in their own way, part of the testimony to the difference Christ has made.

The good news is that losers can become winners when they put their faith in the death of Christ. As St John put it, “they have conquered him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” Revelation chapter 12 verse 11. It’s the blood (i.e. the death) of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for sinners to get right with God.

So whatever resolutions we make for the New Year remember it’s not our trying to change but our trusting in Christ to change us that will make the difference. And if you are serious about trusting him you will read his word and meet with his people.

A Blessed New Year to one and all.