Church of England Diocese of Leeds Kirkby Ravensworth

Hope for the future as we slowly open up.

The Christian Hope is one of placing our faith in Jesus through his life, his death and his resurrection, so when all the odds are down, our hope rests in the faith of Jesus and we do not loose heart. But what if we do? What if we are ground down by the events of life that we face? Do we pretend with hope that things will be OK?

The reality is we strive to look with hope past the events that grind us down, not pretending that all will be OK but by placing our hope and faith in Jesus. Jesus went to his death in the Faith and hope of the resurrection and it is in this same faith and hope that God’s mercy is with us at all times and in all places, so we do not loose heart, but place our hope and faith in God, Through Jesus.

As we emerge from this lock-down, we come through with many challenges and changes in place and we have to fit with the new normal that will be different from what we have been used to in the past. We may feel paralysed by the events that have taken place over the last year, we may feel inadequate, we may be anxious about the future, we may just wish to tell our story and how we feel, this is reality and we have to be open to it and honest. So how do we feel today? do we live with hope and faith or do we just feel ground down by all that has taken place across the world?

Let’s look at Jesus and see how he delt with traumatic events. Jesus came to celebrate the pascal meal with his friends, heralding the coming of God’s Kingdom. The kingdom is imminent, and yet Jesus is surrounded by friends who have missed the point of what Jesus is doing and saying to them, they misunderstood.

The optimism is there with his friends, but Jesus finds himself feeling alone and lonely, but Jesus is not trapped in the moment of been ground down by the disciple’s lack of understanding, he is not trapped by the events that are taking place, but sees beyond these events to the future, to the new normal, to resurrection. Death will not have the final word then or now, because Jesus has paved the way.

Do we recognise that today, do we see beyond the moment of been ground down by lock-down and covid-19? In the faith and hope of Christ we are called to look further and deeper, so that we may see like Jesus the bigger picture, the picture of Hope and resurrection, the picture of new beginnings.

Jesus went to his death in faith and hope of the resurrection. Today we are called to proclaim the risen lord Jesus Christ, this is our vocation as Christians and we must not be distracted. We are each called to adapt to the love of God, sometimes our treasure is contained in clay jars but we must fix our eyes on Jesus and the Glory of God. We are called to face the future with hope not by going back to what was before but by been faithful to the hope we have in Christ who makes all things new. We are called to live in fresh and faithful ways.

The church is the people of God, you and I (not the building) so how can we be the church today? Open not just to our members but to the whole community? How can we come out of the lock-down and be the church that brings Hope to all people? How do we navigate a different future? We start by not losing heart, and remembering that through the life death and resurrection of Jesus our future is sure and our hope is positive.

Sing my soul, when all around seems Black and let’s place our hope in God for he alone is the way the truth and the life.

Every Blessing, Rev Antony.