I heard of a local church moving to the point of closure. This news has given me much cause to reflect. Not so much on the decision the church has made to close, but the challenge of sharing the Christian message of love with grace and strength. How can we keep sowing seeds of hope in communities in Australia and overseas?
In Jesus Christ, God is fully present in our world. There is deep joy in this. Jesus is fully human and fully divine and opens up, for all who follow, new realities and new possibilities in life. The revelation of the unconditional love, compassion, strength and grace of God through the ministry of Jesus is a revelation of hope.
Core to this hope is the confidence that death does not have the final word. In Lent, while we reflect on the journey of Jesus to the cross, we know that Jesus’ death is not the end of the story. Jesus dies for the sake of the whole world and our joy on Easter Sunday is knowing that death is not victorious. Jesus is risen.
It is this foundational contrast – the reality of death and the fulfilled promises of new life that gives us hope and peace. Paul affirms in Romans 5:1-5 that hope birthed in suffering, endurance and character “does not disappoint us”. All this is not a personal achievement. It is possible because of “God pouring love into our hearts”. Paul’s words lift our human spirits beyond being limited to our struggles and to a new place of expectation and peace. This is the hope that does not disappoint.
It also the message we share. It is such good news. We want people to experience the joy of this new life.
The GMP Good Friday initiative of Walk for Hope is not just a way of encouraging giving to support the planting of churches, it serves as a reminder of our daily commitment to follow Jesus. When we ‘walk for hope’ it is about what we seek for ourselves and what we want for others. To walk to church on Good Friday can be a spiritual discipline of stillness, reflection and effort. Walking with this perspective celebrates the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ.
How about joining me, and many others, on Good Friday as we ‘Walk for Hope’.
John Gilmore, Executive Officer