Saturday, 19 March 2011


It's only a week since I was glued to news reports coming out of Japan, appalled by the horror of the ravages of earthquake and tsunami. Still there are heart wrenching stories and pictures emerging and a tense holding of breath, waiting to see if nuclear disaster can be averted.
We also wait to see if air strikes will begin in Libya, escalating the probability of civil war raging out of control there.
All through the Middle East, anti government protests are attracting violent response.
And, meantime, the cholera epidemic in Haiti rages on with no end in sight except death and destruction.
And these are just the stories that are still barely making it into the headlines of our news media. Many other crises and atrocities have long since disappeared from the world news stage and, often, from our consciousness.
How can one keep up? How can one pray intelligently?
How tempting it is to take a fast from the news.
I'm sure that even in the midst of all these heart wrenching stories there are glimpses of hope, of heroic actions, of human love triumphing against the odds.
But the overwhelming picture is of mayhem and suffering and despair.
So how can we, who believe in a God of love and light, who believe in a God who is present wherever there is suffering, speak hope into such relentless chaos?
Especially when we are feeling particularly overwhelmed by the emerging news even at the privileged distance we maintain?
And yet, if we had no hope, if we lacked that inkling of a God who can turn things around, that notion of a God who brings order out of chaos, wouldn't we have stopped watching and listening already?
If we had no hope, already we would be preparing for our own demise and closing our eyes and ears to all that afflicts our brothers and sisters in this thing that we call the human race.
But God, who plants a seed of the godhead deep within each of us, plants a flicker of hope and of love by which we can remain involved, retain hope and know that our God, through us, reaches out, lifts up and redeems a broken, battered and bruised world.
All is not lost.
For a moment we are overwhelmed.
But God, living in us, binds up humanity in love.
In that wilderness space that Lent invites us to inhabit, may we rediscover the seed of the godhead deep within us that allows us to love and to care and to hope anew.


Dot said...

I so hate conflict of any kind, local, national and global. There is something so barbaric and destructive with the situation in the Middle East and the lack of care and compassion that people show to one another. Where is their hope?
Today saw me in a Church in Edinburgh working in partnership with a minister friend who was intent on equipping some of his congregation with more specific skills to undertake pastoral visiting of some of the membership.
The people attending the day were all enthusiastic, and so there is clear evidence of hope that the godhead seed in blossoming in them, but one person above all else gave me that sense of hope. A lady of 91years of age came to the training, not thinking she should be receiving rather than giving, not thinking she was too old to take on something new, that she came to offer herself to this group to do God's work was and is amazing.
At the end of the day she said that she had learned so much, and was going to put her new skills to use this very night when visiting an ailing friend spoke volumes of the Spirit within. It is this kind of Spirit that will be with the workers in Haiti and Japan and in the dark corners of the world forgotten by many.

I give thanks tonight for that Spirit and for the shining example of hope which I met in Edinburgh today.

liz said...

Wow! Hope indeed. thanks for sharing that story, Dot.
Tomorrow's sermon focusses on the hope that is still prevalent in mainstream churches. We're not finished yet. Not by a long way!!!

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