LETTER FROM A MINISTER
Is it time to lose hope?
2020 TAUGHT US MANY THINGS. We rediscovered what it means to be community; going on holiday in the UK never seemed so appealing; the NHS and teachers really are angels; it's incredibly hard to recognise someone when they're wearing a mask; and sometimes, it's just good to call someone.
It also taught us, that we simply don't know what's around the corner. We can hope, or even pray, all we like but we can never guarantee things are going to work out in exactly the way we'd like them to.
Way back in 1999, an Australian film director called Baz Luhrmann wrote a song called 'Sunscreen', which includes the words:
"Don't worry about the future
Or worry, but know that worrying
Is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum,
The real troubles in your life
Are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday."
If you haven't heard the song, it's a classic and I'd encourage you to give it a listen.
These words encapsulate something of what it feels like as we approach 2021. We all have hopes for the year ahead, just as we did for 2020. They may or may not come to fruition, and there's little point holding onto them too tightly as who knows where the year might take us.
So, should we give up hoping? Dreaming what might be? Then we can't be disappointed. Of course not. Where would the world be without hope?
Instead, the bigger challenge is for us to place our hopes in the things that really matter.
I don't say this as someone who claims to always get that right. In fact, there have been many times in my life when I've got it absolutely wrong. However, my faith has taught me that when I place my hope in God, I'm never let down.
Paul, one of the most prolific writers in the Bible, wrote this:
"I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit."
None of this promises an easy ride, but don't you love the way that it speaks of joy for the moments when life is all going to plan, and peace for the moments when it's not. These are the words of someone who knew real life, with all of its twists and turns.
As I write this, looking ahead to 2021, there is hope in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, hope in the journey towards normality; and hope that the renewed sense of community we've found will remain. Unfortunately, all of these hopes and more are susceptible to the events of an 'idle Tuesday'.
Maybe this is the year to look for your hope at the source.
Revd Steve Wood,
Newport Pagnell Baptist Church.