Recently in Middle School chapels, staff and students have been reflecting on whether we truly understand what it means to have hope. Hope and optimism go hand-in-hand, and hopeful people believe that positive outcomes can result from uncertain or even negative circumstances.
Whenever you need a laugh, who better to turn to than Rowan Atkinson’s character Mr Bean. In an episode about hope, Mr Bean loses his train ticket and tries various ways to leave the station without being seen by the guards. Mr Bean’s comedic efforts fail as he ends up on a mail train bound for Moscow. This episode is a reminder that hope encapsulates optimism, determination and resilience in the face of negative circumstances.
Disappointment can sometimes cause us to think that when things don’t go our way, it’s because God isn’t looking out for us. Luke 24 in the Bible challenges such thinking. A group of people were struggling on a walk to a town near Jerusalem called Emmaus when the recently resurrected Jesus appeared and joined them. Jesus teaches them to interpret challenging circumstances in an optimistic manner. He walks and talks with them to rid them of a pessimistic outlook. Jesus explains that they must shift their focus away from hope for something to hope in someone. The people are reminded that no matter what life may put in their way, they should take hold of a hope in God. Bible writers make the claim we may or may not receive what we hope for, but Jesus is a hope that is with us always and will help us meet our daily challenges and opportunities.
With this in mind and as some are approaching holidays, may the following prayer guide our decision making.
Let us pray.
Gracious God, we pray for peace, justice and reconciliation throughout the world. We pray for the honouring of human rights, and for the relief of the oppressed. We give thanks for all that is gracious in the lives of men, women and children. We pray for our school community and give thanks for human skill and creativity and all that reveals your loveliness. We give thanks for human love and friendship and for all that enriches our daily lives. Amen.
Middle School Chaplain