Monday, February 8, 2021

Our Hope

 The link for this week's live-streamed service is

I've been stumped about what to post on this week's blog. There is not much happening at the church since we are closed! Looking for inspiration I paged through the last ten years of February blogs. I found that Jerusha and Felicity celebrate birthdays this month, but all the other posts dealt with stuff like winter blahs, the annual congregational meeting and funerals! 

Given the current restrictions on meeting and travel, no one needs a post on winter blahs. The ACM is postponed until we can meet in person. Holding a funeral under COVID rules adds another layer of sorrow to the already bereaved. 

So, what do we need on this page in February 2021. I think the answer is hope. Researchers, doctors and psychologists vary in how they define hope but in general hope
 means a desire for things to change for the better, and to want that better situation very much. 
Hope implies that there is the possibility of a better future, according to the famed hope researcher C.R. Snyder. When things are dire and difficult, hope can keep us going. 

But hope is more than just wishing. Hope is active.

Hope keeps us involved. Hope helps us cope with troubles. Hope is a necessity for good mental health. Hope doesn't sit back and wait for COVID to end. Hope takes action. Hope looks for ways to make things better for each of us right now. That might mean a phone call or a card in the mailbox. If you live with others fixing a special treat for dinner is an act of hope. Even if you eat alone, or especially if you eat alone, fix yourself a special treat and raise your spirits.

Relationships are vital to a hopeful attitude. With COVID around, our relationships are curtailed but they are not impossible. I've spent more hours on the telephone in the past year than I have in the previous ten. It's not a perfect substitute for in-person meetings, but it is something and much better than nothing.

I've learned to "zoom." The blasted technology keeps getting in the way, but when I finally see a loved one's face on the screen, my heart lifts. I hope for a better future.

E-mails can keep relationships alive, even from a distance. I have developed a very close friendship with a woman in Australia. We met in an on-line course and exchanged progress reports once a week. The course lasted six weeks but our friendship has lasted for years. We've met in person only twice, when she visited B.C. yet our friendship is rich and sustaining. I look forward to Mondays because that's the day I'll hear from her. 

One of the complaints I hear about our lives these days is the monotony. Each day seems the same as the last until we lose track of the days of the week and settle into lethargy. Hope can move you from that dark place. Hope is a motivator. Hope pushes you to reach for something better. Hope beckons you outside to enjoy a sunny day. A sunny day encourages gratitude. Gratitude opens your mind to God.

And here we have the greatest gift of all. 

fire at Notre Dame

While the secular world may wish for an end to the pandemic that hope may be filled with doubt. Our hope is founded on God's promise and there is no doubt that God keeps His promises. Scripture abounds with these assurances.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
 Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” 

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Proverbs 23:18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

 We have many worldly hopes -- and on the pandemic front Dr. Henry hinted that church services may resume soon -- but our true hope rests in Jesus Christ. Trust in Him. Hope in Him and you will know joy and peace and the power of the Holy Spirit.

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