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Fear or Hope?

A reflection for Pentecost

Pentecost is a feast that makes perfect sense in the Southern Hemisphere.  While our Northern sisters and brothers are heading into the warmth of summer, in the South, our trees are ablaze with Autumnal colour.  What better evocation of the Holy Spirit is there than an image of the wind lifting up golden leaves, or a tree with red leaves glowing in the sunshine?

In times of uncertainty, it's always tempting to revert to type.  Are you the sort of person who is inclined to anxiety, or to hope, whatever the circumstances?

Over the past  5 weeks, the LiFT course has began its journey of learning and formation in discipleship.  It's amazing to look at the screen on a Tuesday night and see all the different groups logged in and ready to go, along with the 7 groups doing the course at other times in the week.  With 128 participants, this is an encouraging and hope-filled sign of new life and new leadership.

In times of uncertainty, it's always tempting to revert to type.  Are you the sort of person who is inclined to anxiety, or to hope, whatever the circumstances?

Each Tuesday session of LiFT ends with Night Prayer from our New Zealand Prayer Book.  Within the liturgy is a prayer that is often quoted across the Communion.  It contains these words:

'The night heralds the dawn.

Let us look expectantly to a new day,

new joys,

new possibilities.'

In times of uncertainty, it's always tempting to revert to type.  Are you the sort of person who is inclined to anxiety, or to hope, whatever the circumstances?

The words of prayer remind us that whatever the present trials, new life is always round the corner.  Jesus tells his disciples that he came to give life, that they might have it abundantly (John 10.10).  So while fear and anxiety are part of what it means to be human, because we have a new life in Jesus, we have every reason to have hope, and to share that hope with those around us.  

There are always challenges to be faced in life and in sharing the Gospel.  But all of this needs to be held in perspective.  We must be realistic, and have courage to face up to decisions that must be made to give our engagement in God's mission a sustainable future.  This will inevitably mean letting go of parts of our identity, but we do so knowing that we are being continually formed into the likeness of Jesus.  Change can be confronting, but the Gospel confronts us with the overwhelming love of the God who always go before us.

In times of uncertainty, it's always tempting to revert to type.  Are you the sort of person who is inclined to anxiety, or to hope, whatever the circumstances?

My prayer is that we can be people of gracious hope, confident in our faith and in our capacity to share the good news with those around us, witnessing that in Christ there is a new way, a way for every person, in transformation and in the hope of the resurrection to new life.  May be we bound up in the energy of the Holy Spirit, as the first disciples were, and may we together participate in the new creation that God is bringing into being.

 

+Helen-Ann.

 

Story Published: 7th of June - 2017

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