Strategies for Seeing Anew #18
…towards hope and joy
What does this mean?
Anxiety and hope are both related to the future in different ways. The anxious person has the present ruined by their fears for the future. Christian hope lets faith in God and his future change the present. Hope is a deep knowledge that evil does not have the last word because Christ was victorious over sin on the cross. One day, the world will be made anew and it will be a place of justice and joy, love and peace. Biblical peace is about wholeness and things being right in our relationships, in our bodies and minds, and in our world. Having peace and hope does not mean that life will be easy (John 16:33). Faith is living in a way that acts as a signpost to that future now. Faith in God’s goodness can allay worries and allow people to live with hope even if life is difficult (1 Peter 5:7). Jesus points to God’s care of the birds and the flowers; how much more will he care about people (Matthew 6:34).
A Christian's freedom from anxiety is not due to some guaranteed freedom from trouble, but to the folly of worry and especially to the confidence that God is our Father, that even permitted suffering is within the orbit of His care. John Stott
Joy often surprises us, as the shepherds were surprised by ‘Glad tidings of great joy’ (Luke 2:10). Some of the biblical words for joy are about movement and sound. Joy may seize us and leave us wanting to dance or shout. Christian joy is not dependant on what happens to us, as it is founded on hope in Christ (Romans 15:13). Joy can persist in a quieter form through difficult times. Joy is a taste of heaven.
Joy is the serious business of Heaven. C. S. Lewis
This section is about moving towards hope and joy. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from despair, or from a more diffuse lack of hope?
What does this mean in school?
It is easy for students to feel overwhelmed by the bad news they hear in the media as well as by negative experiences in their own lives and contexts. They may not have the experience of life to put it into perspective. This is particularly true of young children who may find it hard to distinguish between what is happening far away and what is nearby. Teaching and learning can change this:
- Many parts of the curriculum look at the negative side of life: the environmental crisis, economic problems, war and poverty in history, representations of evil in literature. Check your teaching and the overall ‘story’ and tone. Does it help put the negative in the context of the Christian message that evil does not triumph in the end? Are there moments for celebration and thankfulness?
- Balance the negative by positive examples where possible and appropriate.
- Are joy and hope expressed in teaching and learning through dance, music, art and language?
- Is a broad understanding of peace communicated or is it just seen as the absence of war?
Think of a time when you became aware of students’ worries in a lesson. Identify a lesson where teaching and learning could help with this. For example, in modern foreign languages do students learn the language needed to express comfort to those who are worried? Check your own language; do you need to change how you present material? Do you need to balance examples?
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In this document:
1I am telling you this to keep you from being afraid. 2You will be chased out of the Jewish meeting places. And the time will come when people will kill you and think they are doing God a favour. 3They will do these things because they don't know either the Father or me. 4I am saying this to you now, so that when the time comes, you will remember what I have said. The work of the Holy Spirit Jesus continued: I was with you at the first, and so I didn't tell you these things. 5But now I am going back to the Father who sent me, and none of you asks me where I am going. 6You are very sad from hearing all this. 7But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help you until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you. 8The Spirit will come and show the people of this world the truth about sin and God's justice and the judgment. 9The Spirit will show them that they are wrong about sin, because they didn't have faith in me. 10They are wrong about God's justice, because I am going to the Father, and you won't see me again. 11And they are wrong about the judgment, because God has already judged the ruler of this world. 12I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand. 13The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn't speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen. 14The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. 15Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you. Sorrow will turn into joy 16Jesus told his disciples, For a little while you won't see me, but after a while you will see me. 17They said to each other, What does Jesus mean by saying that for a little while we won't see him, but after a while we will see him? What does he mean by saying that he is going to the Father? 18What is this little while that he is talking about? We don't know what he means. 19Jesus knew that they had some questions, so he said: You are wondering what I meant when I said that for a little while you won't see me, but after a while you will see me. 20I tell you for certain that you will cry and be sad, but the world will be happy. You will be sad, but later you will be happy. 21When a woman is about to give birth, she is in great pain. But after it is all over, she forgets the pain and is happy, because she has brought a child into the world. 22You are now very sad. But later I will see you, and you will be so happy that no one will be able to change the way you feel. 23When that time comes, you won't have to ask me about anything. I tell you for certain that the Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. 24You have not asked for anything in this way before, but now you must ask in my name. Then it will be given to you, so that you will be completely happy. 25I have used examples to explain to you what I have been talking about. But the time will come when I will speak to you plainly about the Father and will no longer use examples like these. 26You will ask the Father in my name, and I won't have to ask him for you. 27God the Father loves you because you love me, and you believe that I have come from him. 28I came from the Father into the world, but I am leaving the world and returning to the Father. 29The disciples said, Now you are speaking plainly to us! You are not using examples. 30At last we know that you understand everything, and we don't have any more questions. Now we believe that you truly have come from God. 31Jesus replied: Do you really believe me? 32The time will come and is already here when all of you will be scattered. Each of you will go back home and leave me by myself. But the Father will be with me, and I won't be alone. 33I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world. Jesus prays
1Church leaders, I am writing to encourage you. I too am a leader, as well as a witness to Christ's suffering, and I will share in his glory when it is shown to us. 2Just as shepherds watch over their sheep, you must watch over everyone God has placed in your care. Do it willingly in order to please God, and not simply because you think you must. Let it be something you want to do, instead of something you do merely to make money. 3Don't be bossy to those people who are in your care, but set an example for them. 4Then when Christ the Chief Shepherd returns, you will be given a crown that will never lose its glory. 5All you young people should obey your elders. In fact, everyone should be humble towards everyone else. The Scriptures say, God opposes proud people, but he helps everyone who is humble. 6Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honour you when the time comes. 7God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him. 8Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, prowling around to find someone to attack. 9But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord's followers are suffering just as you are. 10But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That's why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. 11God will be in control for ever! Amen. 12Silvanus helped me write this short letter, and I consider him a faithful follower of the Lord. I wanted to encourage you and tell you how kind God really is, so that you will keep on having faith in him. 13Greetings from the Lord's followers in Babylon. They are God's chosen ones. Mark, who is like a son to me, sends his greetings too. 14Give each other a warm greeting. I pray that God will give peace to everyone who belongs to Christ.
1When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 3When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. 4Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you. Prayer (Luke 11.2-4) Jesus continued: 5When you pray, don't be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. 7When you pray, don't talk on and on as people do who don't know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. 9You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your name. 10Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. 11Give us our food for today. 12Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. 13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. 14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Worshipping God by going without eating Jesus continued: 16When you go without eating, don't try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 17Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. 18Then others won't know that you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you. Treasures in heaven (Luke 12.33,34) Jesus continued: 19Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Light (Luke 11.34-36) Jesus continued: 22Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. 23But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you are in the dark. Money (Luke 16.13) Jesus continued: 24You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Worry (Luke 12.22-31) Jesus continued: 25I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds? 27Can worry make you live longer? 28Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. 29But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them. 30God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? 31Don't worry and ask yourselves, Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear? 32Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. 33But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. 34Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Judging others (Luke 6.37,38,41,42) Jesus said:
1About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. 2These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3Everyone had to go to their own home town to be listed. 4So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David's home town, and Joseph went there because he was from David's family. 5Mary was engaged to Joseph and travelled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, 6and while they were there, 7she gave birth to her firstborn son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn. The shepherds 8That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord's glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10But the angel said, Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11This very day in King David's home town a Saviour was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay. 13Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said: 14Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God. 15After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, Let's go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about. 16They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay. 17When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18Everyone listened and was surprised. 19But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant. 20As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said. 21Eight days later Jesus' parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands. And they named him Jesus, just as the angel had told Mary when he promised she would have a baby. Simeon praises the Lord 22The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born. They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, 23just as the Law of the Lord says, Each firstborn baby boy belongs to the Lord. 24The Law of the Lord also says that parents have to offer a sacrifice, giving at least a pair of doves or two young pigeons. So that is what Mary and Joseph did. 25At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. God's Spirit came to him 26and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the Lord. 27When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple. 28Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God, 29Lord, I am your servant, and now I can die in peace, because you have kept your promise to me. 30With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people, 31and foreign nations will also see this. 32Your mighty power is a light for all nations, and it will bring honour to your people Israel. 33Jesus' parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. 34Then he blessed them and told Mary, This child of yours will cause many people in Israel to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, 35and you, Mary, will suffer as though you had been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking. Anna speaks about the child Jesus 36The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband had died. 37And now she was eighty-four years old. Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating. 38At that time Anna came in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free. The return to Nazareth 39After Joseph and Mary had done everything that the Law of the Lord commands, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him. The boy Jesus in the temple 41Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. 42And when Jesus was twelve years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. 43After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus had stayed on in the city. 44They thought he was travelling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. 45When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there. 46Three days later they found Jesus sitting in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at the answers he gave. 48When his parents found him, they were amazed. His mother said, Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you! 49Jesus answered, Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I would be in my Father's house? 50But they did not understand what he meant. 51Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents and obeyed them. His mother kept on thinking about all that had happened. 52Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people. The preaching of John the Baptist (Matthew 3.1-12; Mark 1.1-8; John 1.19-28)
1If our faith is strong, we should be patient with the Lord's followers whose faith is weak. We should try to please them instead of ourselves. 2We should think of their good and try to help them by doing what pleases them. 3Even Christ did not try to please himself. But as the Scriptures say, The people who insulted you also insulted me. 4And the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope. 5God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ. 6Then all of you together will praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The good news is for Jews and Gentiles 7Honour God by accepting each other, as Christ has accepted you. 8I tell you that Christ came as a servant of the Jews to show that God has kept the promises he made to their famous ancestors. Christ also came, 9so that the Gentiles would praise God for being kind to them. It is just as the Scriptures say, I will tell the nations about you, and I will sing praises to your name. 10The Scriptures also say to the Gentiles, Come and celebrate with God's people. 11Again the Scriptures say, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles. All you nations, come and worship him. 12Isaiah says, Someone from David's family will come to power. He will rule the nations, and they will put their hope in him. 13I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope. Paul's work as a missionary 14My friends, I am sure that you are very good and that you have all the knowledge you need to teach each other. 15But I have spoken to you plainly and have tried to remind you of some things. God was so kind to me! 16He chose me to be a servant of Christ Jesus for the Gentiles and to do the work of a priest in the service of his good news. God did this so that the Holy Spirit could make the Gentiles into a holy offering, pleasing to him. 17Because of Christ Jesus, I can take pride in my service for God. 18In fact, all I will talk about is how Christ let me speak and work, so that the Gentiles would obey him. 19Indeed, I will tell how Christ performed miracles and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have preached the good news about him all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum. 20But I have always tried to preach where people have never heard about Christ. I am like a builder who doesn't build on anyone else's foundation. 21It is just as the Scriptures say, All who haven't been told about him will see him, and those who haven't heard about him will understand. Paul's plan to visit Rome 22My work has always kept me from coming to see you. 23Now there is nothing left for me to do in this part of the world, and for years I have wanted to visit you. 24So I plan to stop off on my way to Spain. Then after a short, but refreshing, stay with you, I hope you will quickly send me on. 25I am now on my way to Jerusalem to deliver the money that the Lord's followers in Macedonia and Achaia collected for God's needy people. 27This is something they really wanted to do. But sharing their money with the Jews was also like paying back a debt, because the Jews had already shared their spiritual blessings with the Gentiles. 28After I have safely delivered this money, I will visit you and then go on to Spain. 29And when I do arrive in Rome, I know it will be with the full blessings of Christ. 30My friends, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that comes from the Holy Spirit, I beg you to pray sincerely with me and for me. 31Pray that God will protect me from the unbelievers in Judea, and that his people in Jerusalem will be pleased with what I am doing. 32Ask God to let me come to you and have a pleasant and refreshing visit. 33I pray that God, who gives peace, will be with all of you. Amen. Personal greetings