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Hope for the future?

HopeThe Brexit roller coaster might be coming into land sometime soon. The rattle of pressured negotiations goes in fits and starts. However you voted and where-ever you stand now, we can’t escape that we are all in this together. Excited, heart broken, determined or maybe even fearful as we step into the unknown. Some are stock piling, others preparing to move out of the country (at least until the dust has settled). As I write this the draft proposals are on the table. In a few weeks, we could be moving forward towards Brexit or even getting ready for a general election.

Each day we get bombarded with another opinion about whether the direction is right or wrong. A lot is ill informed or based on little more than rumours. Whatever angle you view it from the other perspective is often portrayed as one to be feared.

As a Christian community we have something that goes beyond the political divide. Beyond borders and class, beyond passing ideologies and even beyond history. When Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God he says it is both “here” and “near”. He describes it almost as a wind that can blow where it wants. Beyond the confines of a church building, an hour on a Sunday or any man made boundary. Interestingly the Holy Spirit is described in a similar way. In the Old Testament the “Ruach” is the breath or life of God and is translated as “Spirit”. In the New Testament the “Pneuma” is the Holy Spirit of God, the one who Jesus promises. As followers of Jesus we are both filled with the Holy Spirit, and we follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in the world as we seek first the kingdom.

So how as Christians are we suppose to respond to the prevailing winds of fear and factionalism? The answer is that we should not respond! It is not a question of changing our response, but changing who we are are looking at.

In 2 Cor 3:17 it says, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Jesus also declares his peace to us in John 20:21. We get there by changing our focus, by fixing our eyes on him, we gaze upon Jesus and we are transformed into his likeness. Fear is displaced by peace and oppression pushed out by freedom.

As we draw closer to Christmas, think again about the wonder of God with us. Don’t be overwhelmed by that which causes fear and divides us. Instead let us gather again around the history shaper, Jesus, who fills us with his Holy Spirit. Going into the world as carriers of his peace. Whatever happens with Brexit, I pray for you that, “the peace of Christ, that passes all understanding would guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Mark Searle, 14/11/2018