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Rev Rosie writes about anticipation and hope
25th August 2021

REV ROSIE WRITES
Rev Rosie Bunn
Rector of All Saints Church, Belton
and
St Peter & St Paul Church, Burgh Castle


This summer there have been a number of weddings in my parishes; some previously postponed from the previous year, others arranged have come about as a result of conversations through, or at the end of, lockdown - couples wanting to cement their relationship in marriage. I love a good wedding, and they have been great weddings, many with less guests than they might have had but perhaps more intimate and special because of the circumstances
 
It’s such a privilege to be involved in weddings, sharing in those special moments when a couple exchanges their vows with one another. Weddings are always a service full of joy and anticipation; with great hopes for the future, even in times such as these. A new baby, expected, also has that precious anticipation and great joy with a safe delivery
 
I got to thinking about other times in our lives when we look forward to something with an eagerness, and hope. My first thought was Christmas; it is full of joyful expectancy. For many it is the retelling of the central stories of Jesus’ birth and with it the reflection on just it means for God to be born in human form for the salvation of the earth. Christmas, of course, is also experienced with keenness by the younger members of the family awaiting their presents
 
Holidays, or moving house, or even retirement for some, are life experiences that come with a real sense of hopeful anticipation, for whatever reason. Holidays less so in more recent months. Some of you parents will be looking forward to the day that will shortly be upon us when the children head back to school. Some will be extremely happy and look forward to seeing their friends again, whilst others will be aware of missing that time spent at home with a parent. Others, moving to start new schools or even leaving home for university may have mixed feelings but still a hope that whatever they are starting and wherever they are going, will be good for them. There has been much anticipation of “getting back” to whatever it is that we enjoy
 
I know that the Young at Heart group will be greatly anticipating being able to meet in the church once again, to enjoy coffee/tea and refreshments, and lots of chat and laughter. I am looking forward to seeing the church buzzing once again with people enjoying life together
 
The Rock Solid group for primary aged children is also starting again on 2nd September at The Rectory. The children who have been before I expect will be looking forward to this restarting. The younger children who have missed out on those opportunities may not have the same level of expectation or anticipation, but, as I remember listening to the voices of excited children the other side of the black gates to the Rectory, it reminds me that joyful expectation and anticipation is contagious
 
For some of us the waiting in anticipation or expectation has brought disappointment when what we hoped for hasn’t happened. What do we do when we have been disappointed? Can we put it behind us and move on, or do we lose hope?
 
In the book of Proverbs in the Bible there is a verse that says Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (13:12). When our expectations are delayed for a long time, we can experience a real disappointment, or even disillusionment leading to the loss of hope. Prolonged waiting is hard to cope with, when there seems little prospect of our desires being met. It’s been something we have all had to deal with during the pandemic when we have been unable to see loved ones. When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed. Hope deferred can lead to depression, anxiety and physical sickness; our expectation dried up to hopelessness
 
There are times when I can feel disappointed that what I had hoped for doesn’t materialize. For me, a song we sing in church, which echoes what the Bible says about Jesus, helps me refocus. “In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song. This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought or storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease. My comforter, my all in all. Here in the love of Christ I stand”. What helps you refocus when what you have hoped for doesn’t become reality?

 


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