As if on cue, 1 June, the first day of Summer – well according to the meteorologists – it was our hottest day so far. Alleluia, keep it coming, I’ve had enough of the cold and rain, but I bet you that if it gets warmer, or continues for more than a few weeks, I’ll start moaning that it’s all a bit too hot!
I remember when I lived for a few months in Namibia, I became really bored with the constant sun and its setting, within a matter of minutes, always at 6pm. I remember sitting in a garden well up in the North of Namibia and looking out over the veldt. You could see for miles, suddenly a few back clouds appeared as if out of nowhere, then the wind and finally upon the wind came the glorious smell of rain. I don’t think I had ever really been conscious of the smell of rain before, it was quite overwhelming. We sat transfixed, watching the rain getting closer, finally getting drenched with a torrent of life giving and life enhancing rain water. It was joyous and in that moment I began to understand something about hope.
At morning prayer this morning (Wednesday) I was reading a passage from Saint Paul’s great letter to the emerging, and a bit beleaguered, Christian community in Rome, chapter 5 verses 1-11. Paul is talking about our access to the Fathers forgiving love (grace) made possible through the action of Jesus on the cross. Paul talks a lot about hope. “Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us”. It is Jesus’ self offering to the Father that gives us hope and gains our reconciliation with the Father and as a result we can be filled with joyful trust.
Life over the last 16 months has sometimes felt a bit bleak, it’s been manageable because in the end we have all hoped for something better. As the sun eventually emerges from the cold and the rain and as the rain eventually emerges from the drought and dust, so we will emerge from this pandemic. If through all of our experiences over the last few months our faith feels a little dry and dusty, remember – we are loved, we know this because of Jesus’ life and self offering to the Father and so we have hope and as St Pauls says Hope is not deceptive.
(I’m sure you realise that when I write this stuff, I am writing as much to myself as I am to you.!)
Following the recent conflicts and ongoing tension in the Holy Land, Archbishop Hosam, recently installed as Archbishop in Jerusalem, has asked churches within the Anglican Communion to join in offering this prayer:
Almighty and Everliving God: our days are in your hands. We lift up all those in the Holy Land who are victims of violence and injustice, that you might empower your Church to bring healing to the wounded, relief to the suffering and comfort to those who mourn. We pray also that you would soften the hearts of all those involved in the recent conflicts that they would be led to work for justice and lasting peace in the land where your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ first came to give hope and abundant life to all people. We ask this in His holy name. Amen
With every blessing