Sustaining Hope

By Rev Fiona Bennett (From Seeds Issue 99 – November 2020)

In November worship at AUC we mark the Season of Remembrance. This season offers a time to look back at the year past, to give thanks, to acknowledge loss and to learn wisdom to equip us for the year ahead. So what do I remember looking back at this year?

It was pretty familiar from Advent (December) to Epiphany (March) but headed out into uncharted waters in Lent (March) and still seems to be there seven month later.

As I think back over the year, I give thanks for the incredible generosity, support and humour which AUC people have shared in time, talents, and creativity, working out together how to put and share our congregational life online and sustain our building and staff. Next month also marks the 100th edition of Seeds which is a remarkable achievement to look back and celebrate!

Looking back over 2020, I am grateful for the chance to appreciate walks by the sea, the camaraderie of neighbours, good novels and friendship. 2020 has also been a year of loss for many in our world: loss of loved ones, stable income, security, natural species, special occasions, health. . . to name but a few. So the past year has offered much to inspire both gratitude and a sense of loss.

This year, like few others, has reminded me of the importance in being able to dig deep to find resilience and sustaining hope. A friend recently shared with me a quote from the writer and campaigner Jim Wallis about hope, which I believe reflects many experiences of 2020 and offers wisdom for our present and future:

Hope means more than just hanging on. It is the conscious decision to see the world in a different way than most others see it. To hope is to look through the eyes of faith to a future not determined by the oppressive circumstances of the present.

To hope is to know that the present reality will not have the last word. It is to know, despite the pretentions and cruelties of idolatrous authorities, that God rules. It is God who will have the last word. We need more than resistance; we need hope and a positive vision of where we are going. We begin to live out new possibilities in our daily living.

Jim Wallis

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