When I say the word ‘hope’ to you, what image comes to mind? Light at the end of a dark tunnel? Green shoots pushing through dark soil? An outstretched hand?

A week ago, Hope was toddling down our street, away from her home and towards another that she had seen her older siblings going to before. She was by herself and was going as fast as her little legs would take her.

Never looking back.

For over a year there’s been a picture of a rainbow beside our front door, like many others. Children painted hope on stones, rainbow cakes were made, rainbow t-shirts worn.

At the beginning, when we didn’t know how long the pandemic would last, hope was easier to muster. As the months passed, the deaths increased and the restrictions were lifted then imposed then lifted then imposed again, hope faded.

Now that the vaccines have been rolled out and spring has come, our flickering hope can flare up again. Are you finding that harder now? So much has happened, it’s difficult to think things are going to get better. I’m certainly not ready to take that poster down.

But then, why should I? Life often pushes us down into many dark situations where hope is hard to find. For some of you, grief and sickness are holding you down and light is a fading memory…

I’m here to tell you hope is still there; bird lovers are looking to the skies for the swallows’ return, farmers are ploughing fields, thick coats are being changed for lighter ones, garden furniture is being hauled out, tentative plans are being made.

Bright things are on the horizon. Set your gaze on them and keep moving forwards, just like little Hope. And you know the best thing? As I was watching Hope tear along, her big sister came running after her to make sure she was ok, to pick her up if she fell and show her the way home.

Even if hope is hard to find, someone else can do the searching for you and bring it to you.

Look up and see that hope is on its way; it comes with every sunrise, every birdsong, every kind word, every new bud, every rainbow. My question for you is- which sign of hope are you going to find today?

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