Hope springs eternal
1 Vindicate me, my God,
and plead my cause
against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
deceitful and wicked.
2 You are God my stronghold.
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
3 Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.
Perhaps the greatest lines from the Scottish Psalter are verses from Psalm 43:
'Why art thou then cast down, my soul?
what should discourage thee?
And why with vexing thoughts art thou
disquieted in me?
Still trust in God; for him to praise
good cause I yet shall have:
He of my count'nance is the health,
my God that doth me save.'
From the depths of despair the psalmist encourages us to trust in God – some would say to “hope against hope”, but for me, I can’t see any other way. And while I can look around the world and see much that causes consternation I can also look across the horizon of time and measure the progress that has done, and is doing, much good across the world. There is a vast amount of progress still needing to be made, but don’t disparage the advancement that has brought us out of the dark ages; don’t discount the efforts of peoples and nations to further development and to meet the needs of the poorest of the world’s poor.
We still have a long way to go, but we should never lose hope. So much of the progress that has been made has been made because people have been inspired by the transformational message of Jesus of Nazareth. His greatest hope was for peace and his greatest legacy was the peace that he bequeathed to his followers, “peace I leave with you, peace such as the world cannot give.” (see John 14: 27)
Almighty God, legacies are gifts that most often we have not earned and do not deserve, so, we thank you for your greatest gift to us – the gift of peace. Grant us the grace to accept this gift and allow it to dwell and grow in our hearts. And whatever the cost, help us in our private and public life to share that peace with others – especially with those who find life to be a trial of anxious days and restless nights. Amen.