Tuesday 21st July
“HOPE BEYOND DESPAIR”
Today’s reflection was shared by Nell Wycherley. It is an excerpt from the book “The Bible Phenomenon” by John Drane.

……. To respond to Jesus Christ requires an intellectual conversion. If Jesus Christ is all that the Bible claims, then no thinking person can afford to ignore him.

But being a disciple involves much more than just a change in the way we think. It also demands a commitment of our emotions and personal being to him, and an acceptance of the values of God’s Kingdom as the key both to personal spiritual transformation and the future of the whole cosmos.

Contrary to what some of the church think, this is not a cheap or easy option – nor is it a retreat into sentimentality or unrealistic idealism. It is not an escape route for inadequates who cannot face the hardships of life in this world. It is for people looking for a challenge that is big enough to be worth committing themselves to. When Jesus stood before his disciples, he spoke simply and directly. ‘Take up your cross’, he said, ‘and follow me’. Start where you are, bring what you have. Take up the mess that is in the world, as you experience it. Bring the muddle of your own spiritual darkness. Lift up the spiritual alienation and oppression, invites Jesus, and let me deal with it all.

To his first disciples, he offered nothing less than total freedom – and he demanded only total commitment. As those people accepted the promise and the demand, they found themselves on the launching pad for the most exciting journey of spiritual transformation there has ever been.

It is the same Jesus, with the same message, who is changing lives and renewing communities throughout the world today. We may not be marginalised either physically or economically, but the person has not been born who is not in some deep way wounded and hurting. Those who appear externally to be the most self-sufficient are sometimes the most vulnerable.

Through the person of Jesus Christ, God has shared the realities of human life and can transform even the darkest corner with the brilliance of otherworldly light as ordinary people are empowered by the Spirit of God to accomplish extraordinary things. For all genuine searchers after truth, that has got to be good news – the best news of all.