Faith Focus: Looking for hope in the future

Fran Fletcher.

Fran Fletcher. - Credit: Archant

Anyone who has studied the poet Keats will recall autumn as a “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, full of apples and bees. A harvest poem, it sounds idyllic and a far cry from my failed attempt at growing tomatoes this year.

Instead, many of us are approaching autumn with the anxieties which have marked 2020. We face new fears, albeit mixed with excitement, as children and teachers return to school in St Albans, Harpenden and across the country.

We watch as more businesses close their doors permanently, changing our high streets. People are coming to terms with lost opportunities, cancelled holidays, missed moments with friends.

In our house, we have been reading Charlie Mackesy’s brilliant book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Every page is crammed with wisdom and profound thoughts, not least with the mole and his penchant for cake as a remedy in most situations!

But the quote which struck me the most was this one: Isn’t it odd. We can only see our outsides, but nearly everything happens on the inside. How true, social media is full of photos showing our outsides – happy faces on a beach or at a party. This year, with fewer holiday pictures on display, what do we show to ourselves and others?

Much has been made of the opportunity for personal growth during lockdown but for some, that just isn’t the reality right now. So, how do we protect our insides and calm those fears?

Some people talk about a ‘god of your understanding’. For me, that isn’t enough. I can’t risk putting my faith in a god who might be a figment of my imagination. I want to know the real thing.

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When the chips are down, I need to be able to trust in the character of God. When asked his name, in the book of Exodus, God replies simply: I am. This phrase is later expanded upon by Jesus: I am the light of the world.

For me, that is the solidity of a God I can look to in the months ahead, hopeful for the future.

Fran Fletcher is a member of St Michael’s Church, St Albans and a teacher of Spanish and French.