Growing together in hope and joy

Words of Worship is a weekly column published for the Port Pirie Ministers' Association.
Words of Worship is a weekly column published for the Port Pirie Ministers' Association.

You can give someone everything they could wish for; but deprive them of hope, what have you given them? Nothing! Hope is everything. Without hope we despair, even shrivel and die – like a plant without water.

Regions wracked by war or drought or famine can seem like places without hope. People struggle to survive, to live one day at a time. Give them a glimmer of hope –a day without fighting, storm clouds on the horizon, food arriving just in time, an educational facility – and spirits rise. There is hope. There is a future.

Students live in hope. Teachers live in hope. Students that their work – the assignments or essays that they have spent countless hours striving to get ‘just right’ – will impress the teachers, who hope that their teaching, their guiding and direction, has assisted the students in their individual learning and growth.

On the radio today I was listening to a discussion on the topic of ‘Small Houses’. As well savings for the environment with less building materials, less energy to heat or cool, there was discussion on ‘community’, families spending more time together, as well as getting rid of the clutter in our lives. This may not work for everyone. But I was interested in the community aspect, working together, learning to tolerate one another better. This is a sign of hope as we look beyond our homes in working together bringing hope, peace and joy to the world in which we live.

The next discussion focussed on loneliness, lack of human contact, and the resultant depression which some experience. This then turned to the value of community groups in their many forms. Participation in these groups can be really helpful. However, callers phoned to share their negative experience of being involved in community groups.

What we do know is that there is a lack of participation by volunteers in many community and sporting groups, including the local churches. Community groups can be a place of hope and encouragement for people to join and experience life in it’s fullness. Even more, your local church is a place of real hope and community – even with the weaknesses and failings of it’s people!! In all this, we offer you the forgiveness which comes from Jesus so that your life and mine is renewed with hope and joy!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace.” (Romans 15:13)                         

- Pastor Brian Keller, Lutheran Church