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Hope in Uncertain Times

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in uncertain times


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to read on...


Curious about Christianity?

Reconnecting with a childhood faith?

Remembering stories grandparents told you?

Reconsidering what you rejected in school

assemblies or RE lessons?

Exploring the faith a friend seems to rely on?

Then this book is for you.

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before lockdown


Life before lockdown wasn’t always a bed of roses.

But it was normal and predictable

Or at least we thought it was.

Now everything seems unknown.

What does the future hold?

Is there a door of hope?

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the good fight

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The new Coronavirus was first

identified by Dr Li Wenliang who

was hoping for a cure. He cared

for patients until he contracted

the virus himself. Sadly, on 7 February

2020, he died, as so many thousands have

since. He was 33 and left his wife, child and

unborn baby. A poignant poem attributed

to him ends with an ancient quotation:

‘I have fought the good fight, I have

finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Now there is in store for me the crown

of righteousness, which the Lord, the

righteous Judge, will award to me on that

day —and not only to me, but also to all

who have longed for his appearing...’.

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that lasts

These words are pointing to a door

of hope. They were written by a

first century man called Paul who

was in prison on death row in the

Middle East. Paul was one of the first

followers of Jesus, one of millions known

as Christians throughout history and

around the world. Men, women and

children of every nationality have found

this door of hope as they have discovered

the love and life Jesus offers, life that lasts

beyond the grave.

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In the Covid-19 crisis politicians hoping for

guidance have put their trust in science to

point to a way through. Dr Francis Collins,

left, one of the top scientists involved in

containing the coronavirus pandemic, told

a reporter that it is his Christian faith not

science that he looks to in a crisis. ‘I think

I’ve arrived at a place where my faith has

become a really strong support for dealing

with life’s struggles… God is sufficient…

I don’t have to be strong in every

circumstance.’

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in the darkness


Millions have Googled ‘how

to pray’ since the start of

the Covid-19 crisis.

Booksellers report a boom

in Bible sales. Churches offering online

services have more than doubled their

congregations.

In the silence and isolation of lockdown

many have heard a whisper in their hearts

... a still, small voice calling ‘I am the way

and the truth and the life... Come to me, all

you who are weary and burdened... God is

our refuge and strength, an ever-present

help in trouble.’

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overcomes fear


Covid-19 affects us all in some

way. We can’t avoid the

impact of the virus, but how

can we overcome the plague

of fear sweeping the planet?

About AD90 a man called John wrote:

‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love

drives out fear’ (John’s first letter chapter

4 verse 18). He was talking about the love

of God, which he experienced when he

watched his closest friend, Jesus, die on

a cross just outside the city of Jerusalem

in the Middle East.

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and believing


John was an eyewitness at Jesus’

crucifixion, and he wrote an account

of Jesus’ life, which is known as John’s

Gospel. Ancient fragments of this

Gospel can be seen in Manchester’s John

Rylands Library.

John wrote down many of the things Jesus

said including these words: ‘God so loved

the world that he gave his one and only

Son, that whoever believes in him shall

not perish but have eternal life’ (The

Gospel of John chapter 3 verse 16).

He made the connection between God’s

love for humanity, Jesus’ life and death,

and the door of hope from death to

eternal life.

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Certain

John knew that Jesus’ death and

resurrection make it possible for each

of us to experience the love of God

and to have life after death. Christians

worldwide have this sure and certain hope.

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Mary Berry, left, one of Britain’s best-known

cookery broadcasters faced tragedy when

her 19-year-old son William died in a car

accident in 1989. Mary says it was her

Christian faith that sustained her through

the tragedy: ‘William’s death deepened my

faith; without its support, I really would

have struggled.’

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again!


John’s eyewitness account explains

how Jesus died on a Friday and was

buried in a tomb with a huge stone

rolled over the entrance. On the

Sunday, a group of women went to the

tomb and saw that the stone had been

removed. The tomb was empty. Jesus then

appeared to his followers, proving that he

was alive. The wounds from his crucifixion

could be touched. He could eat. He was

not a ghost.

As well as knowing they are loved by God,

Christians know that death is not the end.

They can be confident of this because Jesus’

death on the cross was followed by his

resurrection. He came back from the dead!

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A Heavenly


Ashort time after his

resurrection, Jesus returned

to his Father in heaven, but

before he went he promised

his followers that he would always be

with them and that he would prepare

a heavenly home for them.

Jesus told his followers: ‘Do not let your

hearts be troubled. You believe in God;

believe also in me… if I go and prepare

a place for you, I will come back and take

you to be with me that you also may be

where I am’ (John’s Gospel chapter 14

verses 1-2).

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for the future


During his life on earth Jesus

often used stories or parables

to describe the ‘kingdom of

heaven’. He described himself

as ‘the door’ and explained that anyone

going through this door ‘will be saved’...

(John’s Gospel chapter 10 verse 9 ESVUK).

He also said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is

like treasure hidden in a field. When a man

found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy

went and sold all he had and bought that

field’ (Matthew’s Gospel chapter 13 verse

44). According to Jesus, eternal life with

him is worth everything we have.

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wedding stories


When Jesus talked about

the kingdom of heaven

he often told stories

about weddings. In one

parable the bridesmaids are waiting

for the bridegroom, but they aren’t

prepared so they miss out.

In another parable Jesus described

wedding guests that were too busy to

attend the marriage of a king’s son, so

the servants went into the streets and

gathered all the people they could find,

the bad as well as the good, so the

wedding hall was filled with guests.

But sadly, one of the guests refused to

wear the wedding robes that had been

provided and so was turned away.

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A wedding

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Did you know you are invited to

be a guest at a wedding at the

end of time. The Church is

described as the ‘Bride of

Christ’ and each of us invited to the

wedding feast. Jesus himself provides the

wedding clothes. There is nothing we can

do to earn this wedding invitation, but we

do need to ask Jesus to cover our

shortcomings.

When someone becomes a Christian and

turns away from their past wrongdoings,

it is as if they are washed clean and given

these new wedding clothes to wear.

Jesus said, ‘Whoever hears my word and

believes him who sent me has eternal life

and will not be judged, but has crossed

over from death to life’ (John’s Gospel

chapter 5 verse 24).

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journey

Finding a simple faith to empower

his life, TV star Bear Grylls says,

has been his greatest adventure.

‘Life is a journey and at times we

all need a guide. For me that guide has

become much more than simply a pointer

of the way. He has become my backbone,

my helper, my companion and my friend.’

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Quoting from the Bible Bear Grylls

explains, ‘Jesus said, “I have come so

that you may have life and have it in

abundance.” That was a bit of an

eye-opener for me. I always thought that

Christianity was about being very sensible

and acting all smart and religious. But the

more I discovered about Jesus Christ

himself, the more I found a man who was

as unreligious as you can imagine…. It was

about a relationship with someone who

promises us life in abundance, joy within,

peace without and freedom in our soul.’

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New

Jesus also said, ‘I am the resurrection

and the life. The one who believes in

me will live, even though they die’

(John’s Gospel chapter 11 verse 25).

Gardens, especially in spring, show us lots

of images that help us to understand the

new life Jesus gives. Bulbs that were

planted in the autumn – buried as if in

a grave – spring up transformed into

beautiful daffodils, hyacinths or tulips.

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Who could imagine that a drab bulb

could be transformed into something

so beautiful?

Beautiful butterflies and dancing

dragonflies all start out as ugly bugs

and give us a glimpse of how we too will

be transformed – not confined to the

grave but resurrected to eternal life with

bodies which have been transformed

like Jesus’ body.

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No more

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John, the Gospel writer, also wrote

a vision of heaven in the book of

Revelation. He chose a golden city

to help us understand more about

eternal life where there is nothing evil

to spoil a perfect world.

Looking to the future John wrote: ‘Look!

God’s dwelling place is now among the

people, and he will dwell with them. They

will be his people, and God himself will be

with them and be their God. He will wipe

every tear from their eyes. There will be no

more death or mourning or crying or pain,

for the old order of things has passed

away’ (The Bible book of Revelation

chapter 21 verse 4).

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the door to hope


The Holman-Hunt painting of

‘Jesus – the Light of the World’

in St Paul’s Cathedral shows a

door with no handle. It can’t

be opened from the outside. The writing

under the picture is taken from Revelation

chapter 3 verse 20 ‘Here I am! I stand at

the door and knock. If anyone hears my

voice and opens the door, I will come in…’

Jesus invites us to open the door to hope

– giving him access to our lives, so we can

enjoy life with him, life that begins now

and lasts forever. He wants us to be

confident of his love in the face of fear,

now and always.

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You might like to pray

this prayer to open the

door to hope:

‘Father in heaven.

Thank you for sending Jesus

to show me your love.

I am sorry that I’ve lived life my own way.

As I turn towards you and

open the door of my life,

forgive my shortcomings

and help me to live life your way,

following Jesus.’

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FOR

ALL

If someone you know has died, search

AtaLoss.org for bereavement support

services and information.

This booklet is a gift from your local church.

To find out more about Christianity, ask the

person who gave you this booklet or visit

hopeforall.org.uk where you can explore

answers to questions you might have,

ask a question by email or ask to be

connected to a local church.

Supported by:


Copyright © 2020 Biblica

Unless otherwise stated all Scripture

quotes are taken from the HOLY BIBLE,

NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV®.

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.

Used by permission of Biblica, Inc.

All rights reserved worldwide.

Words: Catherine Butcher

Design: Darren Southworth

s2design.co.uk 020 8771 9108

Photos: Alamy, Istock, The Scout Association,

Shutterstock

Print: Belmont Press Ltd

English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright

© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good

News Publishers.


A promise for now and for eternity

A promise for now and for eternity

‘Neither death nor life…will be

‘Neither

able

death nor life…will be able to separate us

to separate us from the love of God’

from the love of God’

(The Bible book of Romans

chapter 8 verses 38-39).

Romans chapter 8 verses 38-39).

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