Little Malvern Priory
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Hope is a rainbow


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.

The 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. 

Someone 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.

There’s 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 the sun.

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 impossible.

Cardinal 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.

The 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 hope.


“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.


The 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 situation.


In 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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