Saturday, 22 January 2011

Hope- Radio Shropshire Pause for Thought 23/01/11

Imagine the scene….The band plays, the dignitary says in as loud a voice as possible  I name  this ship the Mary Rose ,a bottle of champagne is smashed against the side and the new vessel glides gracefully down the slipway and into the water.
Tonight I am going to the launch  not of  a new ship but a new church. There won’t be a slipway, I am guessing there won’t be champagne, but I am hopeful there will be a band!
This is a new church formed as a result of a merger between 2 churches that have served Shrewsbury well over the years The Grange and North Shrewsbury Community Church
They have chosen a great name for the new church Hope Church.
Now in certain contexts hope can be a weak word I hope it doesn’t rain I hope we win, I hope I don’t lose my job. In this context it really does little more than express a wish that something might or might not, happen
However Hope can also be a mighty word
In the darkest days of the Second World War Churchill inspired hope for survival and then victory by in Jack Kennedy’s phrase mobilising the English language and sending it into battle
Nelson Mandela implanted hope in the hearts of millions that together they could build a better country
Their expressions of Hope changed history
Hope church is a strong name chosen as Phil the churches leader puts it and I paraphrase because the church wants to bring hope to children and young people, the community, the unemployed and families.
Perhaps you’re listening today and hope is in short supply. You’re in debt, unemployed, your marriage is in trouble, or your ill .Someone said to me not long ago I am not living I am just existing …without hope!
It is tough to survive without hope

Now many people have said Christianity is pie in the sky when you die
And it’s true to the extent that we do have a future hope…. A hope that because Jesus died and rose again from the dead that those who believe in Him will in His own words Though they die  yet shall they live “ That is a future hope ….call it pie in the sky but  it is a future hope of life beyond the grave and life beyond the crematorium.  However  that future hope should also inspire  present hope, right here right now   not just pie in the sky when you die but it is also steak on the plate while you wait!
Inspired by his future Hope Jesus spent His time  ,giving sight to the blind ,feeding the hungry helping the lame walk , ministering to the poor and needy  speaking out for justice
In other words our future hope should inspire us to believe in  and indeed work to build a better world here and now for the depressed , the vulnerable, the  hungry, homeless, abused , paranoid , the hopeless and despairing
In that sense every church should inspire hope in the community every church  should be Hope Church
Maybe you think of church as boring  but a church doing those kind of things can be challenging and demanding but never boring
Hope church sets sail on an exciting journey into the future tonight
To use a nautical metaphor God Bless her and all who sail with her!

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