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New year, new hope

At the start of a new year we consider the power of hope.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

At the start of a new year we consider the power of hope.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.

Assembly

  1. How many of you made a new year resolution? And how many of you have not broken it yet? Every year, millions of us make resolutions on 1 January:

    To go on a diet
    To do homework on time
    To go for a run every morning
    To give up smoking.

    Many of us give up after a few days; some keep it up for a month; a few succeed in the long term.

    And yet when the next 1 January comes round, we make resolutions all over again. Why is that?

    That is hope. Hope that we can change for the better. Hope that this year we will have the will-power to see it through. Hope that this year will be different.
  2. When we watch the TV news or read the newspaper, however, it is hard to have hope when all around us are losing it.

    The financial crisis seems impossible to solve. The effects of climate change seem impossible to reverse. The threat of terrorism seems impossible to wipe out. The breakdown of family life seems impossible to put right.
  3. One person who does not seem to have lost hope is President of the United States, Barack Obama. In his speech on the night of the New Hampshire Primary in 2008, Senator Obama said these words:

    ‘We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people. Yes we can. Yes we can. Yes we can.’

    The people of America saw the hope summed up in these words. Many who had never taken part in elections before turned out to vote with hope in their hearts. People all over the world continue to watch in the hope that the world will become a better place with Barack Obama as the US President. He has been awarded the Nobel Peace prize in recognition of how far he has come within his first year and we now watch as he tussles with the more intractable problems of world peace.
  4. Hope is at the heart of the Christian faith. Here are some verses about hope from the Bible for us to think about:

    ‘Why are you cast down, o my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
    Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.’ (Psalm 42.5)

    ‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering; persevere in prayer.’ (Romans 12.12)

    ‘We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.’ (Hebrews 6.19)

    Hope in God has helped Christians throughout the ages as they endured persecution, poverty and suffering. Hope in God helps Christians today as they endure illness, bereavement and anxiety.

Time for reflection

Let us reflect on hope as we end our time together.

Let hope be what makes us get out of bed in the morning.

Let hope be what makes us reach out to others in friendship and love.

Let hope be what makes us do what we can to make the world a better place.

Let hope be what makes us find a way through suffering.

Let hope be what makes us bring hope to those without it.

Let hope be what makes us.

Let hope be.

Music

‘Let there be peace on earth’ (http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/v/vince_gill/let_there_be_peace_on_earth.html)

Publication date: January 2010   (Vol.12 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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