Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Rom 5:3-4 (NIV)
Praise you Father God, that all you do is done in faithfulness and truth – you are trustworthy! Praise you Lord Jesus, you are our help and shield. Thank you that as we trust on you, our hearts will rejoice in your holy name.
Welcome to our preacher this morning who is Rev John Wiggall
After service tea hosts Joan and Chris
Organist: Joan McGowan
Sunday 29th May
11.00am Rev Richard Sharples
Vestry Steward – Elizabeth and Sheila
Door Steward – Myra
Tea Hosts – Myra and Barb
Wed 25th “Time Out” a monthly reflective worship at Hope Parish Church 7.30pm (4th Wed in the month)
Fri 27th Friday Lunch Club in the Hall at noon £3.00
Sun 29th Anniversary Concert at Rhosddu 7.30pm
Tue 31st Coffee Morning at Llangollen 10.00am
Mon 6th Circuit Meeting at Llangollen 7.30pm
Wed 8th Midweek Communion at Regent Street 11.15am
Sun 26th Messy Church in Hall 4.00pm – 6.00pm
Wed 29th Church Council Meeting 7.30pm
Please pray for the following:
Pete and Ruby Kasprowicz
All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
We were saddened by the news of Phyllis’ death. It is quite some time now since Phyllis was last able to share worship with us but she has always remained in our thoughts and prayers.
The funeral will take place here this Tuesday 24th May at 2.00pm
We uphold Stewart and Margaret, and Cynthia and Peter in our prayers.
We have known for quite some weeks now of Avril’s condition since she was unable to continue with her treatment for cancer. It still comes as a shock when the expected death happens and we have all witnessed her brave acceptance of the inevitability of her condition.
Avril’s funeral will be at Hope Parish Church on Tuesday 31st May at 12.30pm.
We uphold Nia, John and Bobby Stanley in our prayers
A New Hope
A friend of mine was recently “vague booking.” I called him and heard his relationship (or lack of relationship) woes. As we spoke, I asked him, “What gives you hope?”
His answer: “I’ll be in Mexico in two weeks.”
Now, that may not be what gives me, or you, hope, but for him, it was the first thing that came to his mind.
A few years ago, I worked with a group of people and asked them to submit pictures of what gave them hope. The project was this: “In our digital world, we are challenging you to record hopeful images in life. Where do you see hope in your daily life?”
I received over 100 images from people. Some were edgy, such as a sink in a soup kitchen. Others were of flowers growing through concrete. Some depicted wildlife and outdoor scenes. A young person submitted a group picture with her friends; their togetherness gave her hope. The project generated a lot of emotion.
Living for the Preposterous
Of hope, Cheryl Lawrie of the Uniting Church in Australia says this: “Hope, an encounter that captivates our imagination so we can’t help but become more than who we thought we were, and find ourselves living for something that is all at once preposterous and impossible.”
The recipe for hope, says Paul, is this: suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us.
But, what happens when suffering + endurance + character don’t produce hope? What happens when they produce despair?
Maybe Paul missed something. I can suffer and still have hope. But despair? The truth is, we can’t truly understand what “life” is, what Easter is, until we know darkness. And not just “my flight got cancelled” kind of darkness. But the part where there is no life. Where death creeps in. Yet, sitting on the edge of darkness is hope. Our Abbey tweeted a prayer (quoting Bruce Cockburn) specifically about this: “For those who kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight, we pray to the Lord.”
Hurry Up and Wait
Nietzsche says that “In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s torments” but I disagree.
The only way around despair is through it. It’s the time spent in the deep, dark, cold cave that truly prepares us for the gasp of life that fills our lungs, energizes the soul, and gives us the hope that does not disappoint. But there has to be a period of despair, of suffering, and intentional “spiritual waiting” before something new emerges.
The Hardest Question
Paul says that we are justified by grace through faith and that hope follows on the heels of this. But is hope a gift too? Or something else. What happens when what we are hoping for doesn’t come to fruition?
By Unvirtuous Abbey. A slightly sarcastic, yet hopeful, group of monks