Notes from Up Russia!

A few weeks ago I attended the Young Voices concert where over 4000 school-children shared a wonderful experience of song and dance at the Fly DSA Arena in Sheffield. One of the solo items that particularly moved me was the song from “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” chiefly because it reminded me of when my son Matthew played the part of Joseph in his school production and I heard in memory his innocent treble voice singing “Any dream will do”!

It is a lovely song, though whether it’s true that any dream will do is highly questionable!  Dreams are close to Hopes; we all remember Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights speech in Washington in 1963 “I have a dream” where he expressed his hope and certainty that one day Black Americans would have the same rights as Whites. His hope came from his conviction that God-given values would triumph in a Christian land. We are in the midst of a series of sermons on Hope, as Churches Together meet each Sunday morning, looking at its various applications in our world today. There is a vast difference between the Christian meaning of hope and wishful thinking. Hope is a word that St Paul uses many times in his Letters to the newly founded churches of the Greco-Roman world. Both Greek and Roman writers had thought of Hope as having both positive and negative effects; hope could  as easily lead to disappointment as much as encouragement. Paul rejects this idea. He says if your hope is properly based on a God of love and power then it is secure. Firmly founded on the character and purposes of God hope can never disappoint! St Paul links hope to faith and love; we all know the famous passage from 1 Corinthians 13 which concludes “Faith, Hope and Love- these three abide”.

They are permanent features in the Christian experience; Faith is the antecedent of Hope; Love is its consequence. Faith comes first; you can only have hope if you have belief in the reason for your hope. Christians believe in the goodness of a God of love; their hope is based on their conviction that ultimately good will triumph. So their hope for a better world prompts them to do all they can to facilitate this in acts of love. You see how Faith, Hope and Love come together!

Hearing 4000 children singing in harmony with such enjoyment and enthusiasm was such a hopeful sign for the future of not only music but togetherness! May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you persist in your belief in His goodness! Brian