by Revd Chris Moody, Vicar of St. Alfege Church, Greenwich
2016 seems to be drawing to a close with even more foreboding that it started. With the appalling war dragging on in Syria with no end in sight, the ‘politics of fear’ on both sides over Brexit, political turbulence among the parties, and the prospect of endless negotiations over the European Union and Single Market, it all seems rather bleak. No wonder then that my mind fastened itself on these words from the old hymn ‘Thy kingdom come, O God’:
When comes the promised time
That war shall be no more,
And lust, oppression, crime
Shall flee thy face before?
Longing is a painful and tiring emotion. But it is the flip side of hope. If we did not keep a seed of hope deeply buried in our hearts, we would not feel the discomfort of yearning for things to be better, for things eventually to come right. For there to be, in other words, a promised time, whether it is in our personal circumstances, all the way up to a benevolent change in world affairs. We hope against hope. We wait not knowing necessarily what solution will emerge but searching expectantly for it. The Bible calls this being awake rather than asleep, becoming children of light who prefer the light to the darkness. In the process we are changed by what we hope for and become small signs of it ourselves. Like the shepherds we keep awake when the world is in darkness and are touched by angels. Like the magi we find our way using the light of a single star.
Rev Chris Moody