Ilkley Gazette: Thought for the Week January 2020

The word “Overture” probably comes from the similar French and German word which means an “opening” or “prelude”. It is most commonly used in music and was most likely originally used to describe an instrumental introduction to an opera. Overtures can differ greatly. Some contain musical themes and patterns which will recur throughout the music to come. Others will have themes and harmonies which are completely its own which will not be repeated later.

At our major Christmas services in church we hear St John’s great overture to his gospel. It introduces some of the great themes of his Gospel, yet there are also some words and images used which never recur in the Gospel again, giving it an enigmatic quality. Above all else, though, it is an invitation into his Gospel and sets the tone for what it is to come.

Many of us can begin the New Year thinking about resolutions. We tend to think of these resolutions as simple “rules” or “commitments” we might stick to in the following year in order to make our lives, or the lives of others, better. For many of us these resolutions can quickly fall by the way side, though occasionally they do just stick!

If you are thinking about making a New Year Resolution, maybe there could be some value in reflecting on it in a slightly different way this time? If you are searching for a simple rule or resolution, try stepping back from it and ask yourself whether this is really an overture to some larger priority in your life whose theme it might be worth repeatedly returning to in the year to come? These thoughts may, indeed, be a prelude to something which can be formational and truly transformational in the search for wholeness and truth.