‘The Lord has looked down from heaven
upon the children of earth,
to see if there is anyone who is wise
and seeks after God.
But every one has turned back;
all alike have become corrupt:
there is none that does good; no, not one.’ (Psalm 14.2-3)
The writer cannot have conceived of our age - in which we humans can look down and scan the earth from heaven. We have satellite images of stunning natural beauty alongside others of burning forests, war zones, deserts and wasteland. The psalmist pictures God looking not just at what we are up to on the surface, but into our hearts and minds, and utters words of despair. For many, it must read like a poem for our times.
Christian faith and hope do not downplay the situation: Jesus was crucified. Hope is about holding fast to that vision of what is good, trusting even at the worst of times that honesty, integrity, justice, love matter more than anything else and God is right there, with us. ‘I believe; help my unbelief’.