Thought for the Day - The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu

Good morning.

2011 has been a difficult and trying year for many of us. We have faced many challenges assailing us on all fronts. And this has left many people worried about the future.

Sadly, we are ending the year with a blight on our nation’s conscience: a million unemployed young people and the snail’s pace towards finding a long-term solution for the Social Welfare of Older people.

In 2012 we need to rediscover the Christian virtue of Hope, coupled with Faith and Love. Hope isn’t the same as blind optimism, or a wistful longing that perhaps God’s promises may be true. It’s a confident trust that they can’t be anything but true.

And because love is grounded in God, we seek nothing but people’s highest good; an invincible good will towards others, no matter what they are like or what they might do to us. As Karl Barth said, love is “the future eternal light shining in the present. It therefore needs no change of form”.1

And faith is neither what a Sunday School child said to me: “Faith is believing what you know isn’t true.” Nor is it a crutch to lean on: it’s the very act of leaning. Always ready for adventure, patient, and forever looking beyond present circumstances to the ultimate reality – God.

As a country, may we recover genuine support of other people in practical ways. Not just financially, but also with our time and our unique skills.

No matter who we are, the one thing we can always give is ourselves, selflessly.
We are all made in the likeness and image of God. Whether we’re short or tall, black or white, old or young. God loves us for who we are. We are all precious and loved.

But we can’t go on as we are. A ginormous culture shift in all areas of our nation is demanded of us. Nothing short of transfiguration/resurrection will do.

There is a beautiful resurrection analogy in the life cycle of the Dragonfly. It gains its perfect form, by shedding its old body. First a creature living out of sight, underwater, in the sediment of ponds or streams; waiting for conditions to be right for its final transformation. Then moving out of the depths, shedding its skin and leaving an empty shell, and drying its delicate wings before taking off - a beautiful winged creature floating upon the air; one life, yet possessing from the first the potency of two forms.

We too have the potential to be changed and transformed. This is the exciting, hopeful truth of being human. So let’s take the opportunity the New Year gives us to become what we all could be.

1 Karl Barth Church Dogmatics, IV/2, sect. 68, p.840.

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