“I hope you’ll feel better soon;” “I hope you have a good holiday;” “I hope I get a question on … in the exam;” “I hope to be able to come to the party.”
Hope is a small word which we all use, probably on a daily basis, but what exactly do we mean by it?
The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines hope as: “expectation and desire combined.” In reality, it’s one of those words which will mean different things to different people depending on their circumstances.
Bishop Graham reflects on his visit to Morogoro.
“Bwana asifiwe” were the Swahili words I kept hearing during a recent visit to Tanzania. It’s used as a greeting and means “Praise the Lord”.
As a group from the Diocese of Worcester visiting our sisters and brothers in Christ in the Diocese of Morogoro, we were caught up in many times of praise. Together we sang and prayed, talked and danced. People, young and old, seemed to almost burst with joy; the women clicking their tongues from side to side in their mouths to make the unique ululating sound.
The Mince Pies and Christmas cakes were hardly off the supermarket shelves before their place was taken by Hot Cross Buns and chocolate eggs. Enter the word “Easter” into Google Images and you have to scroll through 39 pictures of eggs, rabbits and chicks before you reach the first one of a cross. One is all you get before a return to the other images and you have to scroll through another 15 before you find a picture of Christ and even then He shares the space with a rabbit!
At the 1993 Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool, John Major launched what became one of the most widely-derided and satirised campaigns of modern times: ‘Back to Basics’. To be fair, the Prime Minister’s words were wilfully misinterpreted by the media; as he himself would observe years later, it was an example of how soundbites taken out of context can be misleading.
Mental health issues have, over recent months, become a hot topic. There is a new openness and a reduction in the perceived stigma attached to acknowledging mental health problems.
February 4th – 10th 2019 has been designated children’s mental health week and so this is a good time for us to consider this matter and to ask, in particular: What is the Christian response to mental health issues? The immediate and short answer is of course, exactly the same as the Christian response to any form of human suffering: To meet it with compassion, with prayer and, where possible, with the appropriate practical action.
From Robert Jones, Archdeacon of Worcester
We live in tumultuous political times, so much so that many people are literally switching off from TV and radio news. It does indeed seem that megaphone diplomacy, which, of course, is no diplomacy at all, is playing a bigger part in our public discourse. We must not have a false sense that history automatically gets better as we learn to live better, when it is clear that human sinfulness can mess things up just as effectively today as it ever did.
“Luise has already bagged Good King Wenceslas” was the message I received from Graham when he told me that St Stephen is the theme for this month’s magazine. Out of the window, then, went my first idea!
So what does that leave me? St Stephen: the first Christian martyr, whose story is told in chapters six and seven of Acts, where he is described as “A man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”
“When you go home, tell them of us, and say
For your tomorrow, we gave our today!”
In the age of the tablet and the e-book, my uncompromising adherence to bound paper is something of an oddity. On the London Underground, as I turn the pages of my book, I am normally surrounded by people reading on Kindles or doing something on their phones, occasionally sneaking confused glances at this interloper with a suspicious, non-technological object. At Amsterdam Airport recently, another man of about my age and I were the only two people waiting for our flight reading books; everyone else - from small children to an elderly man in a wheelchair - was absorbed in something electronic......
‘I believe in angels/ Something good in everything I see.’
‘I sit and wait/ Does an angel contemplate my fate?’
‘I’m no angel, but please don’t think that I won’t try and try.’
‘Heaven must be missin’ an angel/ Missin’ one angel, child/ ‘Cause you’re here with me right now.’
‘Baby, you’re my angel/ Come and save me tonight.’....................