This year marks some significant anniversaries.
It is 400 years since the King James Version of the Bible was released. It was the first widely accessible version of the Bible in English and the impact on churches, the Christian faith and believers is impossible to underestimate. I am slightly concerned about how it is being venerated at present as remarkable literature. Yes, it IS remarkable literature, but it is so much more than that. I am also a bit concerned that the veneration is also leading to a belittling of modern translations. I heard on Radio 4 on Sunday morning (it was on because my wife had been listening to it, honest!) a VERY senior bod in the Church of England mocking a modern translation in favour of the KJV. That is sad and dangerous. The very reasons the KJV was commissioned and written are valid reasons why we need contemporary translations today.
It is 300 years since Colchester Baptist Church bought the site on which we have our premises today. That was marked his Sunday by Rev Alan Rootsey preaching at our church. He is a descendant of the Minister who was called to lead the church 300 years ago – Rev John Rootsey. In actual fact our church is 321 years old but met in other places before our spiritual ancestors settled on the place in the middle of town.
It is 22 years this year that Sally and I have been married, but 25 years since we first got together as a couple, so it is our semi-silver anniversary.
It is 15 years since the Paris Opera House was destroyed by fire.
It is 10 years since TV Channel E4 was launched.
It seems that there are thousands of possible anniversaries that we can mark. Some are important and significant. Some are trivial and seem contrived.
Why do we mark anniversaries? I think they help us to remember the past. They help us to reflect on the present. They may even anticipate the future (as we move towards them). I guess we all have spiritual anniversaries as well. Do we mark them in a similar way?
This year it is 38 years since I decided to follow Jesus.
It is 31 years since I was baptised.
It is 17 years since I was ordained as a Baptist Minister.
I hope and pray that there are some anniversaries I will never mark. Let it never be one week since I last read my Bible. Let it never be one day since I last prayed!
Which anniversaries will you mark this year, and which ones do you hope not to mark (not because you are ashamed but because you never want them to come around)?
Be a blessing, be blessed.