The Revs. Smiths’ Message for January 3, 2021

Dear Friends,

Minnie Louise Haskins was a British poet and academic in the field of sociology at the London School of Economics. In 1908 she published a book of poetry which includes a poem titled God Knows which begins with these lines:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

In his Christmas message to the commonwealth in December of 1939, King George VI quoted these words. At a moment when the UK was facing the uncertainty of war, they became a rallying cry for the people of Britain, and gave them courage and hope for the dark days that lay ahead.

“The Adoration of the Magi” (1828) by Portuguese painter Domingos Sequeira (1768–1837); from the collection of the National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon; taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

As we celebrate New Years, many of us are more than ready to see the last of 2020, with the restrictions, the loneliness, and the losses that the pandemic brought to us. While there is the good news of vaccines which are finally available – for which we are very grateful – we know that there still lies before us a continuing need for vigilance to reduce the rates of infection. For the darkness and uncertainties that remain, it might be helpful to “put your hand into the Hand of God,” and enter with hope into the year that stretches out before us.

With best wishes for the new year,

Revs. Bob and Helen Smith

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, January 2, 2021, edition of Tidbits.