Comment by Harborough churches: Where do we place our hope?
Every week, the Harborough churches write for the Harborough Mail. This week it is the turn of Revd. Alison Iliffe, team vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team
Viewpoint by Revd. Alison Iliffe
As I sit in my study the gun has sounded from Welland Park to mark the beginning of the silence at 11am on Armistice Day. Living close to the park the noise shook the house. As I paused to remember I thought of how many lives were shaken in the first world war, those who died and their loved ones, those who had to live with the consequences of injuries, and those whose lives were shaken by the Spanish Flu, both in the trenches and brought home by returning soldiers.
Across history lives have been shaken by events, including this current pandemic we find ourselves in, which for some has shaken our hope, our capacity to look ahead. My pondering in the silence made me wonder about how we hold on to hope in such times and what hope means to us?
The dictionary definition of hope is that it is a feeling of desire and expectation that things will go well in the future. At the moment the word hope is being used with the news of a possible vaccine for Covid-19 – bringing hope that life could return to normal. Hope gives us a reason to look forwards. Hope brings with it a confidence and a trust that something will, somehow work out, even, or perhaps especially, when we can’t see how.
Hearing other people’s stories of hope can encourage us to hold on to hope ourselves, helping us through difficult times. And faith places hope in something beyond what we can see as we wait with expectation.
This year, the anticipation as we wait for Christmas, as we light our Advent Candles or open our advent calendars is going to feel different. Many of the traditions which are important to us may not happen or may feel unfamiliar. Our lives have been shaken in ways we couldn’t have imagined this time last year, and like those who have got through difficult times before us we might need to dig deep to hold on to our hope.
Terry Waite, who was held hostage in Lebanon for five years, spoke recently about how to get through the uncertainty which this present pandemic has brought based on his own experiences. He learnt how to keep hope alive by realising that something creative often comes from times of difficulty. There is something about contributing to the hope of others which helps us to have hope too, and which is why we give to those charities which mean something to us, giving hope to those who the charities support. The future is going to be difficult for many or us. We perhaps all hope for different things, but by encouraging one another to keep hope alive, then this situation can only bring out the very best in us all.
Revd. Alison Iliffe, Team Vicar in the Harborough Anglican Team with responsibility for the Parish of the Transfiguration: St Hugh, Northampton Road and St Nicholas, Little Bowden.