Views from the Pews: Bringing hope into the darkness

Rev Neville Simpson.
Rev Neville Simpson.

I came across an interesting article on the news the other day. Scientists believe they have discovered a way to “steer” the immune system to kill cancers.

Researchers at University College, London have developed a way of finding unique markings within a tumour – its “Achilles heel” – allowing the body to target the disease.

Thousands of ordinary people are running events for Sport Relief.

Thousands of ordinary people are running events for Sport Relief.

They believe by analysing the DNA, they’ll be able to develop bespoke treatment for each person.

Their discovery could form the backbone of new treatments and hope to test it in patients within two years.

This would be marvellous if it comes to fruition, as we all know people struggling with this terrible illness and people who have sadly died from it.

For now all the research brings is hope of a cure. However, hope in itself is a powerful thing. We have other ‘cancers’ to fight in the world they are things that destroy and debilitate humanity and cause our fellow human beings to suffer or die.

We live in a world where it appears economic opportunism trumps ethics regardless of the cost to others. A world where there has been a massive rise in loan sharks exploiting the poor but Credit Union banks are collapsing.

A world where there is more slavery today than 100 years ago and human trafficking for the sex trade increases.

A world where people die of hunger whilst fortunes are spent on election campaigning. A world where companies use child labour to make goods ever cheaper to buy.

Where is the hope for these people? Well I think it is in God and through us.

St Paul in his letter to the Church in Rome says: “May the hope of God fill you so that you may overflow with hope” (Rom 15:13). For me the hope of God is that he has never given up on humanity. He never stops loving us, he never stops wanting the best for us, he never stops seeking us and he never doubts that the world can be changed through us.

Desmond Tutu says: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” God’s love flows through us to bring light into darkness in the world. I’ve just been reminded of that by the activities to raise funds for those in need through Sport Relief.

While the amazing things celebrities are doing get the headlines, thousands of ordinary people like you and me are doing events to raise funds and these funds change the world for the better.

That makes us ‘hope bringers’ in a world needing it so much. We can also bring hope in our local communities.

I appreciate it is not just Christians or, indeed, those of other faiths that bring this hope. Often it is also those with no faith.

I do, however, believe that this desire deep within us to help those in need comes from God. I also know that Jesus in his living and teaching went out of his way to bring hope to the marginalised and oppressed and to seek justice for those abused or ignored by the powerful. Keep bringing hope into the darkness!