First Sunday after Trinity, 14th June 2020
The reading set from Paul’s Letter to the Romans for today talks about hope, something we definitely need to hold onto in this worldwide pandemic.
We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5. 3-5
There is so much suffering around us at the moment, families grieving for loved ones, families who have lost their income, individuals who feel alone and forgotten and everyone on edge to some extent through fear of the unknown.
This is why these words from Paul resonate so strongly with us today. It was written by a man who had been frozen, starved, thirsty, beaten, flogged, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, all in the course of his journeys to do God’s work.
When Paul writes about suffering, we remember reading about how he suffered.
When he writes about endurance, we recall the maps of his long journeys.
When he writes about character, we marvel at how strong he must have been to keep going.
When he writes about hope, we give thanks for the wonderful passages he wrote which bring us hope in our daily lives.
We may not be called upon to suffer in the same way as Paul. But as now, there are times in all our lives when we have to face suffering. Sometimes that suffering seems unbearable. Whether it is ourselves who are suffering or those around us, we cannot see an end. For many people, the future seems very bleak at the moment and unfortunately no magic wand can be waved that will make everything better.
Instead suffering must be endured, there are no short cuts. But as Paul writes the endurance of suffering brings hope and hope does not disappoint. The hope we have of God’s love, of God’s salvation, of the presence of the Holy Spirit within our hearts at all times, will enable us to endure all things.
Such hope enables us to step out into the unknown without our creature comforts.
Such hope enables us to declare our faith in the one who calls us.
Such hope enables us to continue as loyal disciples to do God’s work in our communities.
Such hope teaches us that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
May you all find the hope that does not disappoint, through the presence of our loving Lord in your lives.