Monday, April 17, 2017

A time for hope

Wouldn't you agree that, at the present time, we're all of us much in need of a restorative dose of hope?

As we look around, or listen to the news, our turbulent world feels rather like this disturbing picture.

It's a picture in which everyone is anxious, competitive and fearful, whilst at the same time governed by a fierce sense of tribal loyalty.

See how each person clings to the precarious pyramid . . .  struggling to ascend whilst peering in suspicion and fear at any other pyramid that might be in sight.

In happy contrast, I was grateful this week to hear an inspiring talk on the subject of hope . . . a theme perfectly summed up in the words of Bernard Williams: 

"There was never a night or a problem," he wrote, "that could defeat sunrise or hope."

Tell me, as you read those words did you feel your shoulders drop and your breathing deepen?
I did.

His words remind me of another important issue that was discussed in the talk.

Telling us that we were living at a time of global emergency, the speaker asked if we knew another interpretation for the word 'emergency'?
Apparently it can also be seen as a time to 'emerge and see' . . .
a time to wake up.

After all, it's only if we wake up, only if we emerge from the claustrophobic confines of that unstable pyramid, that we'll be fired by the energy of hope that's waiting to guide us.

This is something that must have been borne in mind by the organisers of a recent service at Westminster Abbey, the service held to honour the life and tragic death of  PC Keith Palmer.

I wonder if you noticed that this wasn't called a Service of Remembrance, instead it was called a Service of Hope.

It has long been accepted that without a vision the people perish.
But how, in stressful times, do we cultivate what Barack Obama calls 'the audacity of hope'?

A fellow American has some good advice to offer.

"Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space,"
wrote Maya Angelou,  "Invite one to stay."

Shall we issue that invitation?
Let's emerge and see all that hope has to offer.