“Christ in you, the Hope of glory”
Jesus Christ in one of his teaching sessions with his disciples as they sat on the mount of Olives said to them; “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matthew 24:7 KJV)
As we came out of the pandemic and started to get our minds round the trauma, pain, loss, mental health challenges, economic hardship, etc, and negotiate living with a new normal, the world is plunged into a new conflict. Russia has invaded Ukraine, a former Soviet etate, now, a sovereign state on its border. An evil war on European soil that is creating the greatest refugee situation experienced since the Second World War. Millions of Ukrainians have become displaced and even we in Southwark Diocese are hosting our share of refugee families, as we contribute to welcoming our displaced brothers and sisters. The Ukrainians have expressed their faith and trust in God’s power and good Christian courage and hope.
These times, as worrying as they are, have also generated in us as children of God and followers of Jesus Christ, a new hope in the reality of the power of God at work in our lives. St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, wrote in his letter to the Ephesians about the power at work in them. Encouraging them to have a different perspective despite the challenges they faced. St Paul prayed for them in this way;
“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:17-20 KJV)
We have witnessed the most horrific pandemic and now the senseless war of Russian aggression against the sovereignty of the people of Ukraine. Horrible scenes are displayed daily on social media feeds, our television screens, and some talk of genocide, war crimes and all the horrors of war.
Heart breaking and worrying times of sheer human wickedness, killings, trauma, uncertainty and loss.
Increasing levels in the cost of living, evidence of climate change, Party-gate and the fear of this Russia/Ukraine crisis leading to a Third World War looms over us and all other things call for heightened anxiety levels and fear in our hearts. The call to hope in God is now more essential than at any other time.
So, consider the prayer of Paul for the Ephesians and for us today, that the Lord would give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation; and, our spiritual eyes will see the power of God at work in us through Christ; the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead on Easter Sunday. So, we may understand and know the hope of our calling in Christ. A calling to be Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ in our world to share God’s love and living hope to a world so much in need of hope and love.
Remember, Christ in you, is the Hope of Glory. Do not be anxious. Fear not. Trust in God, meditate on the word of God, and obey him. (Philippians 4:6-8)
“Trust and Obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but, to trust and obey”, says the hymn writer.