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Hope springs eternal!2 months ago
Easter is a season of Hope, and in this week’s ReSource Blog Suzan Williams, New Wine’s Head of Rural Ministries and Rector of four Parishes in North Shropshire, takes a look at what real, substantial hope means, that is grounded in the realities of life and in personal experience and that is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Suzan also encourages us to think about how we can be manifestations of hope as the country emerges from the rigours of the pandemic.
This week I’ve been exploring what it means to have hope and how we can live our lives grounded in hope in a way that is honest and authentic. The Oxford dictionary defines hope as being a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. But we know in reality this is not the way life works, just because you hope for something doesn’t mean it will happen. So hope must need be something more deeply rooted and something that we need to pursue and cultivate intentionally on a daily basis.
From a biblical perspective hope is so much more than a feeling or expectation. Its grounded in the reality of how life can be and the struggles and the challenges that we face. Hope is one of the threads that runs throughout the whole of the Bible from beginning to end. It begins with the hope contained in all that God seeks to create and the hope encapsulated to the creation of Adam and Eve called to be in relationship with God and one another.
The song Cornerstone opens with the words ‘My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus name.’ So if we believe that to be true then Jesus is the foundation on which our hope is built, the one to whom we look when all seems lost and our security is founded.
Its also very apparent to me that hope is something that is grounded in experience and its as we deepen our relationship with God and those around us that we begin to entrust our hopes and dreams to him, his purposes and plans for our lives that we are able to move into a place and space where there is much more room for Gods Spirit to inspire us and lead to places that would not have been possible before.
Proverbs 12 verse 13 clearly tells us that ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.’
We have all had times and seasons in our lives where something has not quite gone the way we had expected but so often with the gift of hindsight we see that God had an even better plan and a means to enable us through a challenging time.
So it seems to me that as we approach the second Easter of the Covid-19 pandemic which has gone on for longer than we ever could have imagined and had farther reaching impact than any other circumstance or situation we have faced.
As followers of Christ we are called not only to hold on to hope but to be the manifestation of hope in our communities and to those around and about us.
I wonder what that will look like practically as we intentionally release hope to captives, strength to the weary. As we herald in the kingdom in those places where we have influence and the opportunity to speak and minister.
Shall we pray:
Father we thank you that our hope is indeed built on Jesus blood and righteousness that we can look to you for all that we need and your Holy Spirit to inspire us and lead us to places that we would never imagine on our own. Would you remind us this Easter of your love that seeks to reach those who need a fresh injection of hope at this time. Amen