PO Box 100, Carlisle, Ontario L0R 1H0 | Phone: 1-833-236-0280 | hfrc@united-church.ca
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a dinner table setting with grapes in a bowl and lit candles

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Hello Siblings in Christ!

The headlines and news stories lately are discouraging …
bombings and genocide before our very eyes in the Gaza, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, housing crisis, homelessness and more. There are angry political debates, caustic commentary, mounting suicide rates, food insecurity around the world; it all leaves us wondering: how did humanity ever plunge to this?
How did we ever sink so low? Is there any reason for hope?
 

 

But everyday we use that one small, magical word — hope. And somehow that spark a fresh desire to want to go on. But what is hope? I would define hope like this: Hope is a vision for better days that changes us in the present. Hope is a vision for better days. There’s something up ahead, around the corner, in sight, and it’s good. But that good future isn’t just abstract, because it reaches in and transforms us in the present.

But the vision for a better future isn’t based in our wishful thinking or even our faith in that future; instead, the promises point to a specific person. Hope is not wrapped up in a season or a good church program or in a new job or a better spouse or a bigger house. Hope is wrapped up in a Person.

The prophet Isaiah gives us a window – “Come and Be Satisfied!”
(Isaiah 55:1-5)

Advent, and later, Christmas, are reminders that the hope to which we find comfort are still meaningful today. So, the invitation of long ago still stands: “Come and eat!” “Come and drink!” “Come and be Satisfied!”

This time-honoured message God has spoken and still speaks today through the prophet Isaiah stands as a reminder that whether Advent or Christmas or along life’s journey, the invitation to look to God for sustenance is always open. “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy …”

It is clear from this invitation that its not just for a select few, but all are equally invited and welcome around the table. The essence of this message is repeated in Galatians 3:26, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. All are one … all are welcome.

This is a message for all those who are feeling like they are on the brink of exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed and tired … find some time and come away and be refreshed again.

I came across a quote that I found quite meaningful, “Ideas and philosophies have a shelf-life. They must be kept fresh and renewed or they will spoil. If left unattended, the same ideas and philosophies that once nourished you and helped you grow can poison you and make you sick. Become aware of new ideas that can refresh your way of life and be open to the fact that your old ideas and philosophies can work for you for some time, but when the shelf-life has passed, those ideas and philosophies could also harm you.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

May, as we enter these seasons of Advent and Christmas, as individuals, communities of faith, or a region together, we find time to be refresh so we can offer renewed help and hope to others. Because offering hope to those who need it is evangelism in its purest form.

Matthew 5:16 instructs us, “Let your light shine before people, that they may see your good works and glorify God in heaven.” Investing in someone’s life communicates God’s love in a very deep way.

Lennox Scarlett
President, Horseshoe Falls Regional Council