Published on Mon, 1 Feb 2021 00:00

Hope. Tim’s Word for the Year, his answer when Jonathan posed him the question at Morning Prayer. 

Just what I was thinking and, I imagine, many other people were thinking the same. 

I was just beginning to gather thoughts for my Jotting and I decided to write about Hope, in particular hope for 2021 and the future, at a time when we are beset by uncertainty. 

At the beginning of any year the appearance of snowdrops, bravely showing through the frost and snow, tells us that the spring will be coming, the days will be lengthening and, hopefully, we shall be having some warmer sunshine. 

Because of that I have always thought of snowdrops as a symbol of hope and decided to use a picture of snowdrops at the start of my Jotting. Selina sent me a selection and I chose one showing a clump of snowdrops. 

Then, today, I read Tim’s newsletter for this week – and he’d used a photo of snowdrops to head it! 

Hope and snowdrops; a theme seemed to be emerging. I chose a different photo to head my jotting – one showing not just one clump of snowdrops but a vast spread of them and it occurred to me that here was significant symbolism – one clump of snowdrops can spread to become many. In the same way a ray of hope can illumine life so that the hope grows and spreads to all areas of our lives, and if we are filled with such hope we can share it with others, with our families and friends, with anyone we met. 

Hope is a gift from God, who promises us hope for each and every day, promises to walk with us and to guide us through whatever life brings. 3 God says, ‘Surely I have plans for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’ (Jeremiah 1:4) 

Ultimately, of course, God promises the hope of eternal life after our time on earth is ended. 

In the meantime, we are to treasure the time given us to here and to look for the God-instances in our lives, to use our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to notice the good things, the blessings we are given each day. The snowdrops are one such blessing, to be followed by the triumphant yellow trumpets of the daffodils, the green buds on the trees and later magnificent carpets of bluebells. 

All accompanied by birdsong, by cloud patterns in blue skies by day and stars in the night sky. Plus phone calls and occasional letters from friends, and, if we are able to latch into the wonders of technology that God has so generously allowed to be developed, streamed church services and virtual meetings with friends and family. 

So much for which to give thanks. 

And there is hope too for relief from the present troubles, with the development and roll out of vaccines to protect us from severe illness. 

As I continued to think about Hope, more and more confirmation of both our need for hope and of God’s provision came to mind. 

The Psalms, of course, are a great source of evidence of God’s knowledge of us and our needs and of the care God has for us. 


Psalm 139 speaks for us to acknowledge those things; 

O Lord, you have searched me out and known me; 
you know my sitting down and my rising up; 
you discern my thoughts from afar. 
You mark out my journeys and my resting place 
and are acquainted with all my ways. 
Where can I go then from your spirit? 
Or where can I flee from your presence? Common Worship Psalter


And the assurance of God’s care is spelt out in Psalm 91; 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
and abides under the shadow of the Almighty, 
Shall say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my stronghold, 
my God, in whom I put my trust.’ 
For he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler 
and from the deadly pestilence. 
He shall cover you with his wings. 
and you shall be safe under his feathers. Common Worship Psalter 


Assurance of deliverance from the deadly pestilence is particularly welcome at the moment! 

Of course, there is no such thing as a coincidence, only God instances, so it’s not surprising that I kept finding evidence of hope all around me. 

One such source of hope has been a beautiful Christmas present given to me by my older daughter. It is a book by Charlie Mackesy, published in 2019, called, ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.’ If you have come across it you will know what I mean, if you haven’t then I recommend it! Every page is a gem, with lovely illustrations. 

It is a book full of hope. It closes with, ‘“Just take this step…” The horizon will look after itself.' 

God walks with us, all the way. 

Love, Prayers and Blessings, 

Joy

Categories Word from the Clergy