Revd Malcolm Doney

April letter from the Team

Posted on by Tania Birtwistle

Dare to hope

It’s my misfortune to be a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur supporter. On a good day, the team are arguably among the finest exponents of ‘the beautiful game’. But my experience is that we’ll embark on a good run, and – just when we think we might achieve greatness – it all falls apart.

Watching the evolution of Covid has echoed that experience. At first, we thought it was just a little local difficulty. Then it became a pandemic. The first lockdown fostered, for some, a kind of Blitz spirit, until– just as we thought we were safe – the second wave hit. We had encouraging news of the vaccines, and then the variants snuck in when we weren’t looking.

There have been so many twists and turns, so much speculation, so many false dawns, that it’s difficult to invest in a life beyond Covid – it seems like some kind of Shangri-La. I don’t know about you, but I’ve almost put hope on a shelf, thinking that I’ll reach out for it when I can trust in it again.

As I write this (and who’s to say how different life might seem by the time you read this), there is a road map – an exit strategy. Dare I begin to hope again? Of course, the Church – almost to the point of cliché – takes Christians through the sombre trials of Lent into the joy of Easter. There’s a familiar arc from dark to light, from, sadness to joy.

And that works because we know how the story ends. Back in the day, Jesus’ friends didn’t. After Jesus was executed on Friday, they had a long Saturday of grief and loss. There seemed nothing to hope for. But then, out of a blue sky, came resurrection. Life could begin again.

The writer of Psalm 30 wrote: “Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes with the morning.” Maybe – even at their darkest moments – they dared to hope.

We can’t know what life will be, or feel, like in July, or this time next year. It will be different. Hardship – though that’s not its function – teaches us life-saving stuff, and can sometimes set us on another road. I really am trying not to be trite when I say that I’m constantly surprised by the ability of people to emerge wiser, kinder, stronger from the wreckage.

For me, the story of Easter says that we can start over. But it won’t be like it was before. The world’s changed. We’re changed. We look ahead. Maybe – in this world – Spurs might win something . . .

Hope so.

Malcolm Doney