Ever wondered where is the hope in the culture around us? It can be hard to see, can’t it! Overall many people in my generation (the Millennial generation) have become disillusioned with politics, and if you read the papers you can see why! Having talked with my friend in the US she is quite sceptical of certain media channels in the USA as they seem to ‘dress the truth’ up, and are quite unbalanced in their reporting. It seems therefore there is lots to be sceptical about, and this often breeds a lack of hope. When we feel hopeless we just go through the motions, we do what we can do, and we look for instant gratification rather than any long-term gains.
Sounding familiar? I have no easy answers to this, but what encourages me is that there really are glimmers of hope all around us. I was really encouraged to hear, when I was in conversation with someone from another church, that she felt the lack of Christian message in schools was a good thing. She thought it was better than putting the message in the hands of those who had no faith or who gave a half-hearted message. She was so pleased to hear about the team that does Open the Book at Malden Manor School. A small sign of hope.
If you ever come into the building during the week you’ll see the carers that come on a Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday morning with their young children to the toddler groups. Here we offer them a space to meet other carers, to get out of the house, and for their children to interact with others. If we have had children, we will know the benefits of such groups. It was only recently talking to a friend with young children that I really understood the benefit of such groups. A small sign of hope for our community.
These are all signs of hope, they are small but important. These are signs of hope that we can build on. We also need to recognise that for many of these people we meet in the building or outside, church is completely strange to them. The things we do, our traditions, customs, and ways of doing things can be a barrier. But our hope is not in these things, our hope is Jesus. We need to ask Jesus to show us where we are clinging onto these things rather than Him. For Jesus comes to us fresh in each generation showing and giving us hope.