So, tomorrow is the last Sunday of the year...well, the liturgical year that is. In many parts of the church, the Sunday is kept as Christ The King; a feast to celebrate what early Baptists called "the Crown Rights of the Redeemer", that is, the absolute Lordship of Christ, and the call to believers to recognise all other powers and principalities as penultimate.
There is a great deal of discussion at the moment about sovereignty, about power, about who is given it, who takes, who is denied it, and how we negotiate all of that, Underlying much of these debates is a concern about how, if at all, we can find a way to live together when there are such deep divisions about who should hold power, and how they should use it, what they should do with it.
We seem to have lost the capacity to speak well about these things, and to have lost trust in the ways we have previously developed of finding a language about common and public good.
I believe this matters greatly - and I believe that it is one of the places where our tradition and practice can, if we take it seriously enough, and live well within it - offer something good to our society.
Churches are communities used - at their best - to negotiating difference and finding a way to live together, We don't always do it well, and we always have more to learn, but we start from the assumption of wanting to be together.
Churches are communities that, when we are true to ourselves, know that what we are committed to is bigger than we are, and that our self-interest is not the ultimate issue, indeed, it may be of very little important; we exist because of and to work towards something much greater than we are.
Churches are communities that, when we are working well, know that all that we do, and all that we intend will only ever be provisional and penultimate, because it is not our will, our decision or even our good actions that sustain and change the world; we work with and for a King, who will bring all to fruition and reconciliation.
And in that faith, we start on a new year. Happy New Year....