We pray 2017 will be a year of hopeful conversations about a thriving society, truthful dialogue about the positive impact of our laws around abortion, and most importantly fresh encounters with Jesus.”
The beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to look ahead whilst reflecting on what has been.
‘Post-truth’ has been named the word of 2016 by the Oxford Dictionaries. It was certainly an interesting year – Brexit, Trump, the McConnell case, Ashers and the RHI scandal all offering various perspectives on truth.
Truth seems to be more contested than ever and yet in John 18 we get to listen into a conversation between Jesus and Pilate, the political ruler of the day, who ultimately asks, ‘What is truth?’ Perhaps post-truth is not such a new idea!
Looking back, in 2016 we saw a movement of prophetic prayer across the churches as we remembered the Rising and the Somme – 100 days of prayer for 100 years of history seeking healing of the past, honour in the present and hope for the future.
In 2017, fifty years on from the Abortion Act 1967, we celebrate our unique culture around life and dignity that delicately balances the life of the mother and the child. Five hundred years on from the Reformation, we mark an event that has so shaped life globally and particularly here in Northern Ireland.
Religious and political freedom, the nation state, the market economy, science, the arts, secularism, individualism and consumerism have all been profoundly influenced by the Reformation – for good or for bad.
We pray that in 2017, the church can honour the many positive legacies of the Reformation, while also seeking to overcome the divisions that accompanied it. We pray for truth filled conversations about the beginning and end of life, the risks of redefining marriage and gender, the responsibilities that go with rights, about restoring trust and rebuilding communities.
Finally, we pray for fresh encounters with Jesus, so ‘we will know the truth and the truth will set us free’ (John 8:32), for that is the only hope in a fragile and hurting world.
Peter Lynas, NI Director Evangelical Alliance