My last post concluded on a pessimistic note. The last four weeks have certainly shaken me up. In the wake of the referendum it’s felt like there’s been horrifying event after horrifying event, to the point where I’ve taken to turning the radio off. Too much bad news.
Finding hope by looking backwards
What I’ve been searching for is hope. I wrote about wanting to be like Mary expecting the birth of Jesus. The advent of the UK’s new Prime Minister was accompanied by speeches promising to fight injustice and to build a ‘better Britain’. Is she able to make that promise? Is it right to place our hope in her?
I feel we live in a culture that is all about moving forward, but I’ve realised that finding hope is about looking backwards. In the Bible, the institution of the Passover is to remember that ‘the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.’ The Covenant on Mount Sinai and the law that is given to Moses is founded on what God has already done: ‘I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.’ The Israelites ask for a king like other nations because they forget what God has done. The Psalms lament this loss of identity:
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices.
A well-rooted tree or chaff in the wind
Psalm 1 says that:
Happy are those… who delight in the law of the Lord. They are like trees planted by streams of water,… The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Daily devotion to the headlines and the politics of Westminster leaves me feeling like chaff in the wind. Instead of listening to the radio, here are a few things that have been giving me hope, rooting me by streams of living water:
- Talking with a Friend who is living a life in the North East of England inspired by Bob Holman
- The work of St Chad’s Sanctuary, providing all manner of help to asylum seekers
- Speaking with Friends who are interested in intentional community, reminding me of my own adventures and all the inspiring people I met
- Stories of people who took risks in the face of hostility to do the right thing, like this one
I’m still finding my way forward. I’ve joined the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, and the Electoral Reform Society and there are some more intentional communities we need to visit. Having left the empty tomb, it feels like I’m catching up with Peter on the road to Emmaus.