We were recently away for a weekend at Ashburnham Centre, set in an old country house in the Sussex countryside. It was running an Art of Hosting gathering with World Café’ style conversations and Open Space for people to set their own agendas. Good chat, food and music. What’s not to like. I even tried a workshop on circus skills and started to learn to juggle ! (I still have a long way to go)
The theme of the gathering was the startling phrase in the title, taken from Rebecca Solnit’s book ‘Hope in the Dark’
“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future - and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.”
Hope is not something passive but something to be seized, actively grasped and enacted. What things are you trying to juggle? What concerns you about our world, the environment, our society, your neighbourhood. And what can you do? What are you going to Axe in the coming weeks? What small axe/acts of hope will you enact/en-axe! Small axe/acts of kindness can accumulatively change things for the better.
‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life’ (Proverbs 13:12)
Rev Phil Simpson, member of the Christian faith
Date: Monday 30th January 2023