Hope is lived, and it comes alive, when we go outside of ourselves, and, in joy and pain take part in the lives of others. It becomes concrete in open community with others. (Jurgen Moltmann, The Open Church, 1978, page 35)
I wonder if discipleship today should best be measured by the hopefulness of our living, and thinking, and praying?
The true basis of the soul's hope of God is God's hope of the soul. His confident intention precedes and inspires ours, and gives all its significance to our life. (Evelyn Underhill.)
That old terminology is still important, prevenient grace, the Grace that was there before we ever were, that goes ahead of us, that knows us deeply, truly and unerringly. God has great hopes for each of us - I can live with that thought, and actually without that thought much of what I might call living is deprived of its most sustaining source of energy, hope.
So Paul's prayer speaks directly into the life of those of us, at times overhwelmed by the conveyor belt of evil, suffering and awfulness that is the news just now:
'The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.' I like that word, overflow - it speaks of excess, generosity, extra space, more than enough.
The photo was taken on Sunday, a visitor to our garden, a fragile beauty and harbinger of transformation.