Hope is a
In 1945 there was a goodwill tour of the UK by the
Russian football team, Dynamo Moscow. During their short stay, Dynamo blew away
all preconceptions about just how well football in eastern Europe stood up to
British standards. The Soviet champions ended their tour undefeated but to label
that as their greatest achievement would be to do them a monumental disservice.
Russians showcased an exciting brand of passing football known as
“passovotchka”– a system relying heavily on teamwork and physical
exertion, in which attacking through quick, incisive passing was the key.
They introduced to Britain a totally new way of thinking about playing
football. They hoped for what
everyone considered was impossible and it happened.
once said, “People without hope don’t diet.
Those who diet are prepared to think the impossible.
They see the world not as it is but how they hope it can be.”
This was presumably how Dynamo Moscow saw their world as they trained for
their games in Britain.
an interesting poem on hope titled; “Definition of Hope” by Robyn
“Hope is a tissue,
wiping away your problems and fears
Hope is something to
be held and treasured over the years
Hope is bright, like
It brightens your day
when you think there’s no way.
Hope is a teddy bear,
soaking up your tears of sadness, making them into tears of happiness.”
“It brightens your day when you think there’s no
way.” Hope is to dream the
Newman understood that mankind faced an impossible situation when coming before
God. His situation was hopeless.
He wrote his poem “The Dream of Gerontius” to give reassurance that
we need not be fearful of dying and finding ourselves confronted by God’s
judgment. The poem was put to music by Sir Edward Elgar. In it we hear Gerontius
repeatedly appeal for Jesus to pray for him.
In the final stage of the poem about Gerontius’ journey he finds the
reassurance needed to enable him to come before God without fear.
hymn, “Praise to the holiest in the height” by Cardinal Newman is repeatedly
quoted in the 5th Section. It moves
from man’s broken relationship with God at the beginning of his creation to
Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and his crucifixion.
In the hymn Newman declares that man is restored to his original
relationship with God through the life and death of Christ and so is not without
“O loving wisdom of our God
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.”
Here is hope when all hope has been lost, such that
death which seems to be the end of hope is not something to be feared.
crucifixion is the climax of the journey of Immanuel (God with us).
In the crucifixion we see the full extent of the love God has for
mankind. Here is the fight that the
first Adam lost, the struggle with self desire, self satisfaction, self
fulfilment. It is a fight for self
forgetfulness by the second Adam. “Greater
love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” John Ch
13 vs 16. Here we see God in the
raw, displaying the full extent of his love for humanity.
Humanity with all its inhumanity displayed in the blackness, the horror,
the degradation, the injustice and the cruelty of the cross.
It is here that we see the wonder, the glory, the beauty of God.
We see the image in which we are made and we see us as God sees us.
This is the image to which we aspire, the fullness we hope for, the
example we dare claim to follow. It
lifts our vision to strive for the impossible, to hope for that which is beyond
our reach and so we are rescued from despair, from the hopelessness of our
the midst of the horror of the murder of young people and the injuries inflicted
on so many others in Manchester on 22nd May we see the generosity of spirit of
people reaching out to help those caught up in the atrocity.
We hear people from all around the world united in their expressions of
sympathy and support. In the midst
of the appalling pain and suffering when the horror of the event leaves us
without words, we discern the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in all its power
uniting mankind in its condemnation of evil.
We find ourselves uplifted by the worldwide expressions of unity and
love. And so “when all is sin and
shame” God offers us the ultimate hope, new life following the darkness of the
emptiness of death. A hope for that
which seems impossible, incredible, unbelievable.
A hope that springs from the new life given to Jesus Christ after his
cruel untimely death on the cross and that has spread out across the world ever
since. Faced with such a loving God
why should we be afraid of anything.
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