Today the church remembers the life of Anthony of Egypt. Born in about the year 251, Antony heard the gospel message, "If you would be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." He was twenty years old and rich, following the death of his parents, but he did as the gospel instructed and went to live in the desert, living an austere life of manual work, charity and prayer. His many spiritual struggles left him both wise and sensible and he became a spiritual guide for many who flocked to him. His simple rule of personal discipline and prayer was taken up and spread throughout Christendom. He died peacefully in the desert in the year 356, asking that he be buried secretly, so that his person might be hidden in death as in life. He faithfully undertook the one thing God asked of him.
At church last Sunday, we began to spend time reflecting on our motto for the current year. The psalmist king David, had many things on his plate, and could have had any number of requests of God. However, his one request is found in verse 4 of Psalm 27. Over and above anything else, is an expressed desire to spend time with God – to have an awareness of his presence.
Now half way through January, I’m sure that as individuals and as a congregation, we have all sorts of things that await us, and which could fully occupy us. But my prayer for us all in the coming year is that first and foremost, and perhaps in preparation for these other things, we can focus on our Lord. I hope you can join us on Sunday, as we continue our exploration.