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Page last updated - 21 July, 2018
Dear Easter People,
On Christmas Day 2017 I was thrilled to see in the Manse Garden a beautifully shaped, single yellow rose bud - those who know me well know that yellow roses are my favorite flowers. It reminded me of a quote from J M Barrie:
" God gave us memory so we might have roses in December."
The first signs of Spring have been evident for a while now and with those signs, for many, a new sense of hope. The cold, dark days of winter are behind us and the new life of Springtime is here. But just as the seasons remind us that we live in a pattern of birth and life and death and new life - so our Christian life has that same cycle of being born, of living and dying and rising.
Hope and Memory are so important to us as human beings - the loss of either is a tragedy - but for so many people throughout the world this is their experience. We need memory to remind us that Spring will come, that Love is stronger than hatred, that there is goodness at the heart of most people and that we all have something of the image of God within us. It's encouraging to see the help being given to those whose memory is fading and it's amazing to see the work being done in our area through 'Faithfully Ageing Better.' Perhaps there are things we can do to help those with memory loss and their loved ones, in our churches. Memory Clubs are springing up all over, with music, photographs and films all provided with human warmth, love and compassion. Perhaps we can offer those Wintertime roses of hope!
We see the suffering of women, men and children in various parts of the world, often their hopelessness is caused by civil unrest or war and its aftermath. Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing persecution and seeking safety, hoping for a better life somewhere - anywhere! Nurses, Doctors, Aid workers tell of the 'hopeless situations,' and yet, they go on working in places where even snowdrops and poppies struggle to grow - let alone roses! I wonder, do they ever see signs of Spring - signs of hope . . . . Roses, in the winter of their hell on earth? Is it not through the very touch of human love and care that they see the Love of God and the fragile and vulnerable signs of hope?
I know from speaking to many of those seeking asylum in this country that they DO hold on to hope, and that the hope they have, is often given to them by you and me and in the love, care and practical help we give. THANK YOU!
And what is our HOPE? Surely not simply a hope based on wishes, you know what I mean, 'I really hope 'Boro win 4-0 tonight.' Or, 'Hopefully it will be dry enough to hang out the washing.' Or even, 'We hope the surgery will give him a clean bill of health.’
NO - the HOPE Christians have, the hope which motivates them, the hope which stirs them into action on behalf of others is grounded in the Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - when we can say: "In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Sure and Certain Hope comes when we allow God's Spirit to fill us and motivate us. For many, there may only be the memory of a rose in December. . . but maybe we can be the one who helps stir that memory for them.
With my Love to you all,
Rev. Sue Greenwood
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