this was first presented to the Church Council here at FHPC:
On the banks of the automotive artery
14 September 2010
The long drag of winter affects us all in differing ways but can have a tendency to take us with it into a kind of seasonal depression. We get to the point where we’re sick of being cold, of getting wet almost every time we go out, of the promise of fine weather being elusive and rather fleeting, of business being hard work and in some cases frankly impossible. It seems that especially as we near the rise of spring and summer a concerted cold burst of sodden weather is determined to undermine our hopefulness. And yet we know that summer will come and soon enough find us whingeing about the heat and the humidity. How hard we are to please!
And yet we have this as a kind of living demonstration of the faithfulness of God and the persistence of hope. We know the sun will shine with welcome heat, and the warmth of the air will send us dashing into the welcome coolness of the foamy surf. As a black preacher once said, “Friday is here now – but Sunday is a-coming soon!!!” We are people who have every reason to live with hope, to demonstrate the resilience of hope because we find it a relationship with the Lord of glory Himself; the Lord who chased away the seeming finality of death and replaced it with the enduring power of light, life and an eternity of joy in the presence of Him who first loved us.
So even in a winter that threatens to “drown” us, and in circumstances that seem impenetrably unfavourable, we KNOW that we have a future and a hope because our Lord is for us – and with us – and in us. There is life yet to be lived, mission yet to be discovered and pursued, there are people who need the Lord and His astonishing mercy and love that only we can find; albeit under the guidance and the equipping of His Holy Spirit. Hope is never dead, never irrelevant, never futile. We have every reason to hope, to believe, to open our doors and our hearts to those who have found this and every winter, real or figurative, almost more can they can bear. We have an answer, we have the answer burning in our own hearts, looking for a way to express itself, or should I say Himself, in the ordinary affairs of extraordinary lives.
As we face an annual meeting some of our news isn’t too inspiring, but while we live and breathe, and while God retains His presence among us there is light beyond this threatening darkness of low attendance and budget deficit and all the institutional depressive spirit that can accompany such “realities”.
David the psalmist responds to a dark moment of desperate hunger in his life with these words:
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,
my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42. 5, 11)
And David didn’t even know the half of what we know about the reason for hope! Read the rest of Psalms 42 and 43; try reading it as showing an expectation of Jesus’ gracious participation in our lives.
On the path of life.