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"The harvest is passed, the summer has ended, and we are not saved." Jeremiah 8.20

Last night was the coldest so far this autumn - and there is a real bite in the air this morning. Pity those who are homeless and sleeping rough. Or on low incomes facing soaring energy bills. Or, all but the wealthy facing a cost of living crisis. We thought life would be alright once we got a strategy for dealing with climate change and then Covid came along. And, just when we looked forward to the end of lock-down, war broke out in Ukraine. Pity those on the front line, or caught up in the crossfire, or bereaved of loved ones.

There is no end to suffering, it would seem. Unless we are looking in the wrong place, or in the wrong direction. God in Christ warned that poverty and injustice and suffering are inevitable consequences of a fallen world. Jesus also proclaimed that he had overcome the world and that he would return to complete the process of redeeming it, bringing heaven to earth and renewing creation, ushering in a new era of joy and health and peace, which will be forever.

Which leaves us with a choice: to allow the encroaching gloom to envelope us, or to live and work through the night in expectation of a new and brighter dawn? Christians consider ourselves to be a people of hope, not because we turn a blind eye or stick our heads in the sand, but because we believe that God has created everything and all creatures for a purpose and so everything has meaning and that meaning is being proved through a process of re-creation, through which God is bringing about a universal re-creation. And we get to participate! Mourning has its place but not as a prelude to despair; rather as a recognition of the value of life and an impetus to its conservation and enhancement.



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