What is Hope?

Joey Velasco’s captivating portrayal of the painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” called “Hapag ng Pag-asa” (A Table of HOPE) shows Jesus eating with a group of street children. They are not eating at a table but on a huge delivery box used for cargo shipments.

These are Velasco’s imagery of children he saw on the streets of Manila. Every one in the painting was a depiction of a real child Velasco met and helped with his foundation.

The painting reveals a story of greater hunger than a plate of rice could satisfy. What these children are starved of is love, not merely material food”

Joey Velasco

Every child in the painting has a story. We also have a story, the orphaned children we work with have a story and during Lent we want to explore that in every culture HOPE is the same, it's what holds us together during the darkest of moments. 

The Last Supper 

The account of the last supper appears in Matthew, Mark and Luke but we will use the story in the gospel of Matthew for our study.

Read Matthew 26:17-29

The passage starts on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. It's starts at the beginning of a 7 day feast to remember God freeing the Hebrew people from the tyranny of Egypt. This was a feast and each one of the disciples would have been excited to celebrate. I mean who wouldn't with 7 days of feasting?! 

This time would have been filled with the retelling of the story, being reminded of their freedom and how by God's mighty power they were saved from slavery. The disciples get to enjoy it with who they believe will save them from the rule of the romans and free then once again. I could imagine that this would have been a joyful time of buying food, making plans and being with loved ones.

Question: Can you remember a time where you overcame or found freedom from a difficult situation? 

I am pretty confident that the disciples were feeling grateful and hopeful as they sat down to enjoy their meal together. And then during this time Jesus throws out to them what would have been a curve ball. Something they weren't expecting, a statement which I am sure confused them more than brought light to the situation

Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me. 

Jesus

The disciples were full of HOPE for the freedom that they thought Jesus would bring, but could not believe or accept the real way Jesus was going to bring that freedom!

At the beginning of 2021 I was excited and filled with HOPE for the year ahead. We had been in lockdown over Christmas which was hard, but a vaccine was here, and there was light at the end of this incredibly challenging 12 months. There was HOPE.

I don't know about you but I was starting to feel good and remembering times where I could go out and do all of the ‘normal’ things I used to, believing that I would do those things again soon. But then through January the news got bleaker, the death rate was at an all time high, we were facing another national lockdown! What had happened? I thought everything was getting better, I was starting to celebrate and look forward to what the year had in store. But once again, it was put on hold.

Question: What are you looking forward to when life gets back to normal?

As an extrovert I have found this an incredibly difficult time. Even when running a charity with orphaned children, knowing and seeing desperate situations, I am sometimes focused on what I don't have, what I can’t do.

In some ways I am used to this temporary normal, to be distanced from friends and other people, to the point where if I watch a film or a program and I see people hugging and interacting, my response is 'no that's not right', 'keep your distance'. But I am trying to be grateful for the things I do have, trying to find HOPE. To appreciate how fortunate I am to have the life I get to live here in the UK.

Question: What are you grateful for?

HOPE can be hard to find, but it is always there. Søren Kierkegaard said that 'Hope is passion for what is possible', What is possible for you this week.  

As we enter into the first week of Lent I want to give you some challenges to help us find HOPE and share HOPE with others. 

Actions

  1. Prepare a traditional Ugandan Meal with your family or maybe prepare it with friends over video call and enjoy it together!
  • Luwombo - Traditional dish of Uganda, common dish cooked during the holidays. 
  • Curry PotatoesCurry Potatoes are a popular and easy to make Ugandan side dish.  Serve it hot with grilled chicken or a meat stew.
  • Mandazi - African donuts 
  1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for today.
  2. Tell someone you are grateful for them and why.
We have always held to the HOPE, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world beyond the horizon

Franklin D Roosevelt