Sunday, 18 December 2011

Bringing Heaven Down to Earth - Carols by Candle Light

Sunday, 18th December 6-30
Carols by Candle Light

Our carols were chosen and illustrated by Sue Cole and Shirley Fiddimore accompanied on the organ by Richard Sharpe.  The prayers were prepared by Janet Partington.  The sequence of readings follows recent preaching themes where we have been exploring the Prophets of the Old Testament through the eyes of Jesus.

67  Once in Royal David’s City  verses 1,2,4   UNANNOUNCED

Richard - Welcome


In very troubled times 8 centuries before Christ, four prophets drew word pictures of what it would take for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Those word pictures shaped all that Jesus stood for and all that Jesus did.

Those same word pictures shape all that we as Christians stand for and all we seek to do as we pray ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’

One of those word pictures is in Isaiah 11:1-9

It  speaks of the strength that comes through wisdom, knowledge and skill, it comes through reverence for God.   It speaks of justice and integrity, of a justice that ensures the poor are treated fairly and the rights of the helpless are defended.  It speaks of the power that lies in the word rather than the sword.  And it is built on reconciliation and peace. 

Reading          Isaiah 11:1-9 - Peter

What the angel said to Mary in that sixth month in a town in Galilee called Nazareth suggests that the one she would bear would be shaped by that very picture Isaiah and the prophets that followed him had sketched.  The one named Jesus she would conceive and give birth to would be regarded as ‘great, and will bear the name of the kings of old, he will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever and ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary knew in her heart of hearts that all Jesus stood for would do justice by the hungry and by the oppressed.

He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones
And lifted up the lowly
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And sent the rich away empty.

Each verse of our next carol takes up one of those word pictures from the ancient prophets and uses it to speak of the Jesus who enters into the hell of this world to turn tyranny on its head.  O come, Emmanuel, true branch of Jesse, bright daybreak, key of David, great Lord of might.

Carol   66  O come, O come Emmanuel

This was no pie in the sky idealism.  It was into a brutal world of oppression that Jesus was born …

Reading:  Luke 2:1-7 - Marion

Maybe the next of our carols is not as sentimental as we might imagine.  Stay by my side until morning is nigh is plea that Christ Jesus stays with us through the hours of darkness until the dawn comes.

Carol 72 Away in a manger

It is through the hours of darkness that the prayer becomes real … Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay.

In our candle-lit service we have four Advent Candles to light.  When one of our members, Janet Partington, was asked to prepare Christmas prayers for other people it made her think …

Janet – Prayer 1

Janet:  As I was considering these prayers of concern it occurred to me that, so often, it can feel a bit ‘us-and-them’; as if praying for the needs of the world is somehow separate from myself, something from which I can be detached.

And it struck me that, while my prayers may be no less heartfelt for being something I do for (or to!) other people, for me there is something missing.

Because we are all part of the Community of Need.  We may be more, or less, aware of this at different times, but we are all, inescapably, ‘us’.

And so I invite you, as we make our prayers of intercession, to hold in yourminds the thought that we are all in need, and if any of the prayers speak to situations or experiences in your own lives, to take comfort and strength from the fact that, as you are pray8ng for others you are also praying for yourself and being prayed for in return.

Let us pray,

As we look forward to a time of feasting, we remember those for whom there is little or no food because crops have failed, disasters have destroyed harvests or there is simply not enough money to provide essential sustenance.

We remember those who seek to provide for this most basic of needs across our world.

And we remember those for whom eating and drinking can be fraught with practical difficulties, with unseen dangers or for whom consuming to excess is a way of hiding from problems too painful to face.

As we look to a time of cosy homes with family and friends, we remember those who have no home to call their own, who are forced to rely on the kindness of friends or strangers for shelter or to sleep rough.

We remember those whose homes lack basic amenities, and those whose comfortable homes are a cause for anxiety in this time of economic hardship.

We remember those who are alone in the world and those who feel isolated even while surrounded by loved ones.

We remember those for whom ‘home’ means unhappiness, stress or fear.

We remember those who seek to bring physical, mental and emotional comfort to others, both friend and stranger.

Loving Lord Jesus, we are one Community of Need:
In the need we share, we hold out these prayers to you.  Amen

Light the first candle

600 In the bleak mid winter  CP 1,2,4 - UNANNOUNCED

The angels take up another element in that picture of long ago – Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace …

Luke 2:8-20    Shirley

We take up that song of the angels, and echo the thoughts of that prayer,
They kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

All glory be to God on high
And to the earth be peace -

94  While shepherds watched

Janet Prayer 2

Let us pray

As we look forward to a time of joyful activity, we remember those for whom activity is limited, who may feel left out, frustrated or depressed by their inability to join in.

We remember all those without jobs, or who are facing redundancy and may find their sense of self-worth and ability to contribute in a meaningful way as limited as their income.

We remember, too, those who are slowly being worn down by the demands of an increasingly pressurised workplace, those who worry that however much they do, it will  never be enough and those who are concerned about the impact of long hours and greater pressure on their health and relationships.

As we look forward to a time of wishing one another ‘good health’, we remember those for whom poor health, both long and short-term, makes life difficult.

We remember those for whom poor health brings stigma, incomprehension and prejudice, or feelings of anger, sadness or depression.

We remember all those who care for the physically, mentally emotionally or spiritually sick, providing support and practical help all year round.

And we remember those whose caring is wearing them out and damaging their own health and well-being.

Loving Lord Jesus, we are on Community of Need:
In the need we share, we hold out these prayers to you..  Amen.

Light the second candle

77  Angels from the realms of glory   - UNANNOUNCED

The world Jesus was born into was a world of brutal oppression.  There were so many echoes of the cruel world of Isaiah’s time.  Jesus shaped all he did according to those word pictures of Isaiah and his followers.  God’s rule is about justice, equity, commitment to the poor, peace, reconciliation.    He did not come to get us to heaven: he came to bring heaven down to earth.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

This is something for all peoples.  So it is that ‘wise men from the east ‘seek in him the hope of nations;’  Is it had been in the time of Isaiah and his followers, so it was in Jesus’ day a threat to the powers that be.    Herod the Great thought nothing of killing members of his own family to get to power and three of his own sons when they aspired to rule in Jerusalem.  His reaction to the quest of the wise men at first seems alluring, but in reality is brutal in the extreme.

Matthew 2:1-11 – Mary Michael

This is not a cosy scene.  Make no mistake about it this is a world of sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying.

Carol:  We three kings

1     We three kings of Orient are;
       bearing gifts we traverse afar
       field and fountain, moor and mountain,
       following yonder star:
       O star of wonder, star of night,
       star with royal beauty bright,
       westward leading, still proceeding,
       guide us to thy perfect light.

2     Born a king on Bethlehem plain,
       gold I bring, to crown him again-
       King for ever, ceasing never,
       over us all to reign:

3     Frankincense to offer have I;
       incense owns a deity nigh:
       prayer and praising, gladly raising,
       worship him, God most high:

4     Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
       breathes a life of gathering gloom;
       sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
       sealed in the stone-cold tomb:

5     Glorious now, behold him arise,
       King and God, and sacrifice!
       heaven sings alleluia,
       alleluia the earth replies:

John Henry Hopkins (1820-1891)

Janet – Prayer 3

Let us pray.

As we look forward to a time of peace on earth, we remember those places in which peace is hard to find; where countries are at war; where personal relationships have broken down; where what I want is all-important and having is more important than being.

We remember the people for whom ‘peace’ means not rocking the boat, avoiding conflict for fear of retribution or not caring enough to get involved.

We remember those who make it their business to be peace-makers, whether mediating in the squabbles of children or getting involved on an international level.

Loving Lord Jesus, we are one Community of Need:
In the needs we share, we hold out these prayers to you.  Amen.

Light the third candle

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven

Ding dong merrily on high
In heaven the bells are ringing

E’en so here below, below
Let steeple  bells be swungen

Carol - Ding dong merrily on high

1   Ding! dong! merrily on high
     In heav'n the bells are ringing;
     Ding! dong! verily the sky
     Is riv'n with angel singing.
     Gloria! Hosanna in excelsis!
     Gloria! Hosanna in excelsis!

2   E'en so here below, below,
     Let steeple bells be swungen,
     And 'Io, io, io!'
     By priest and people sungen:

3   Pray you, dutifully prime
     Your matin chime, ye ringers!
     May you beautifully rime
     Your evetime song, ye singers!

George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848-1934)
7 7 7 7 and Refrain
Copied from HymnQuest 2011: CLUE Version
HymnQuest ID: 52188

Matthew 2:12-18        Sue Cole

When you see how much of the world’s conflict is centred on the Middle East and seems to find its focus here in Jerusalem and Bethlehem it’s enough to turn people away from religion.  It makes me want to do the opposite and ask what should religion truly be about. 

I notice that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all look to Isaiah and his followers and revere them as Prophets.  In each of those faiths are people working for that kind of justice, righteousness, commitment to the poor and peace and reconciliation. 

In very troubled times those  prophets drew word pictures of what it would take for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Those word pictures shaped all that Jesus stood for and all that Jesus did.

Those same word pictures shape all that we as Christians stand for and all we seek to do as we pray ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’

I don’t believe being a Christian is about getting people to heaven – I believe it is about bringing heaven and that pattern of justice, righteousness, commitment to the poor down to earth.

I am no longer comfortable singing one of my favourite carols – O Little Town of Bethlehem – I cannot sing ‘how still we see thee lie’.  The churches and Christians we are in contact with there invite us to stand with them in that very task.  We are going to sing the version of that carol our own Graham Adams wrote after visiting Bethlehem while he was training for the ministry.  Graham is now a minister in inner city Manchester and with Sheryl his wife will be having an extra special Christmas this year with their baby daughter, Bethan.

Carol - O Troubled  Town of Bethlehem

1          O troubled town of Bethlehem,
with conflict still you lie.
Above your deep but restless sleep
indifferent stars go by;
yet in your dark streets may you find
resilient, endless light:
for hopes and fears of all the years
were borne in you one night.

2          For Mary's child was born, and cried,
unnerving powers-above,
whilst God of Life who bears our strife
encouraged hope and love.
O morning stars, now sniper-fire
obscures such hopeful births;
but mothers sing of everything-
their prayer still 'peace on earth'.

3          How silently, how violently,
your wondrous gift was given;
while God is grace for every race,
your streets with fear are riven.
As Jesus came amongst the poor
(confronting powers-that-be),
through risen will and faith he still
invites us 'Set them free.'

4          O daring child of Bethlehem,
empower us all, we pray,
to work for peace that wars may cease
and love be born today.
With all the nations' angels
proclaiming we shall tell:
'Heal Bethlehem, join "us" with "them"'-
Amen, Immanuel!

Graham Adams (born 1975)
© Graham Adams

Copied from HymnQuest 2011: CLUE Version
HymnQuest ID: 77760

Janet – Prayer 4

Let us pray.

As we look forward to a time of birth and giving, we remember those who are feeling the pain of death and loss.

We remember those for whom the taking away is a pain almost beyond bearing, and those for whom it is a relief; those for whom it has come suddenly and without warning, and those who have watched loved ones slip away over months and years.

We remember those for whom the bringing of new life into the world is an unimaginable joy, and those for whom it is a long, hard and dangerous process.

We remember those whose gifts of time, energy, skill and compassion help to bring us into this world and to ease our passage out of it.

We remember those for whom life will never be the same again.

Loving Lord Jesus, we are one Community of Need:
In the need we share we hold out these prayers to you.

Let’s say together the prayer Jesus taught us to pray

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom,
The power and the Glory
Forever and ever.

As we sing the next of our carols we shall make our offering for the work of the church here at Highbury.  Our Christmas Day collection next week will be for County Community Projects and its work throughout Gloucestershire as a key provider of much needed care services.

91        See him lying on a bed of straw [including the offering]

Along with many churches throughout the English speaking world we have marked this, the 400th anniversary year of the Authorised Version of the Bible, as the Year of the Bible.  Between writing these notes and the time of our service, our attention has been drawn to the address given by Prime Minister David Cameron in Oxford only a day or so ago to mark that anniversary.  He is to be commended for taking his stand on what he called ‘biblical principles’.  These are the ‘biblical principles’ that are at the heart of the Christmas story.  The commitment of the prophets to justice, righteousness and integrity, their commitment to the poor and to reconciliation and peace.  This is what Jesus took his stand on and lived his life for.  These are the principles we as Christians are not only committed to ourselves, but they are the principles to which we are to hold those who rule us to account.  Many a service of lessons and carols will finish with a reading from John chapter 1.  These wonderful words are all about heaven coming down to earth, about the Word made Flesh.

John 1:1-14  - Janet Partington.

59  Hark the herald angels sing - UNANNOUNCED

Words of Blessing

Sunday, 4 December 2011

In the face of despair ... hope - Jeremiah's Story

Some time over the last weekend in October Felicity and I drove along Shady Lane on the outskirts of Leicester.  It looked very different from the Shady Lane we remember of our youth.   I well remember learning with excitement when I was still at school that they were going to plant an Arboretum along the side of the already tree-lined Shady Lane.  I firmly expected to see something like the kind of Arboretums I would later love to visit – Westonbirt, Batsford, and best of all Walsall with its illuminations.  I can remember the disappointment I felt when all I could see was a couple of fields planted sparsely with feeble saplings.  Forty years on the Arboretum is more like the Arboretum of my original imagining, though it has some way to go yet.

To plant out an arboretum is to make a statement about a future you will not live to see.

Hold on to that picture for a while as we turn to the book of Jeremiah.  Not an inappropriate Prophet to turn to at the end of a week when we have learned of the extent of the economic collapse that is happening the world over and at the start of a week that could see seismic changes in the structures and future of Europe.  Not only is Jeremiah the Prophet of Gloom and Doom but he is more than any other the one to carry out what seemed like outrageous symbolic, prophetic actions – the kind of person to be initiating an encampment outside St Paul’s.

Jeremiah is an outsider, not part of the Jerusalem establishment.  Son of Hilkiah, he is ‘of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin.  That’s a reference back to 2 Kings 2:26-27: Anathoth was the place Solomon banished Abiathar the priest to right at the outset of his reign, as he severed links with Eli’s family.  Jeremiah the outsider speaks truth to power in one of the most dreadful periods of the history of Jerusalem and Judah – from the thirteenth year of the reign of King Josiah through all his successors, until the captivity of Jerusalem.  (Jeremiah 1:1-3)

The account of Jeremiah’s call and commission in chapter 1 is a wonderful account of call and vocation.  Called of God to be a prophetic voice Jeremiah is all too aware of his own inadequacy.

‘Do not say, “I am only a boy”;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.’
These are words to take to hear whenever it is that we feel impelled to speak out about our faith – when we are called to declare God’s word, we can sense here the promise of God – do not be afraid – I am with you.  Those are the words Jesus echoed to his disciples when he warned them they would be up against the powers that be – do not be afraid, I am with you.  This is the promise Jesus leaves his followers as he commands them to go into all the world with the message of Good News to share.  I am with you always to the end of the age.

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
‘Now I have put my words in your mouth.
That’s a very significant quotation – it is what is said of Moses, and it is what is said in Numbers 22:38 of the prophet who would come.  Jeremiah stands in that line of Moses.

Then comes a commission which is the commission that comes straight from the pages of Deuteronomy, we have seen it time and again through the pages of the former prophets, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, we have seen it in the 8th century prophets Isaiah, with his threesome Amos, Micah and Hosea, we have seen it with Huldah, we have seen it with the threesome associated with Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Nahum and Zephaniah.

The pattern that emerges in these prophetic books is of judgement as the consequences of the Kings’ and the people’s abandonment of God is worked out, and of hope as the promise of renewal and restoration comes.

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
‘Now I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.’ 1:10

There are all sorts of different strands running through the Book of Jeremia, and you glimpse them all in chapter 1.    Jeremiah gives an analysis of all that is wrong in the way the Kings and the people have disobeyed God and broken with God’s way for the world.  It is a devastating critique – an indictment of all that is wrong. 

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
   look around and take note!
Search its squares and see
   if you can find one person
who acts justly
   and seeks truth—
so that I may pardon Jerusalem.* (5:1)

And Jeremiah is in no doubt – the Kings and the People will have to face the consequences as the world as they know it falls apart.  Jeremiah can read the signs of the times and knows that the devastation will come from the north

Thus says the Lord:
See, a people is coming from the land of the north,
   a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
23 They grasp the bow and the javelin,
   they are cruel and have no mercy,
   their sound is like the roaring sea;
they ride on horses,
   equipped like a warrior for battle,
   against you, O daughter Zion!  (6:22-23)

It is the Babylonian power that will be instrumental bringing to pass the devastation that is the consequence of all that has gone wrong for the people and particularly in the decisions their rulers have made.  The heading in the NRSV at chapter 6 says it all – Jeremiah is full of the imminence and horror of the invasion.

How do you cope in such a time of uncertainty?  How does Jeremiah cope?

You need to go beyond the gloom and doom of Jeremiah to the person of Jeremiah.   In a lot of the poetry he plumbs the depths of his own anxiety and his own feelings of helplessness.  Those feelings he articulates at the very outset are feeling that return to haunt him.  There are moments of hope when he goes down to the potters house and speaks of God as the potter who can re-mould the clay that has been initially spoiled. (18) There are moments of utter hopelessness as he takes a clay pot that has been fired and smashes it irretrievably. (19)

And it takes its toll on Jeremiah – that reaches its peak in disturbing, harrowing words in chapter 20 14 ff

Cursed be the day
   on which I was born!
The day when my mother bore me,
   let it not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man
   who brought the news to my father, saying,
‘A child is born to you, a son’,
   making him very glad.
16 Let that man be like the cities
   that the Lord overthrew without pity;
let him hear a cry in the morning
   and an alarm at noon,
17 because he did not kill me in the womb;
   so my mother would have been my grave,
   and her womb for ever great.
18 Why did I come forth from the womb
   to see toil and sorrow,
   and spend my days in shame?

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus is seen as another Jeremiah.  We sometimes miss the negative side of his preaching – he too gives an analysis of all that is wrong.  The poor, the hungry, those who weep, those who are hated because they follow Jesus may be blessed, but woe to those who are rich, those who are full now, those who are laughing now, those everyone speaks well of.  He takes his stand against the powers that be.  And it too takes his toll as in the Garden of Gethsemane he prays that the cup be taken from him, and on the cross cries out as if forsaken by God.

And yet Jeremiah holds on to that promise – do not be afraid.  I am with you.

And so through all the catastrophe there are grounds for hope – for something will be restored, re-constructed out of the ruins.

I want to home in on four strands that are to do with planting and re-building – with the hope beyond restoration …

Initially he lays down the challenge to rulers and people alike – change your ways and there’s still time to put things together again.  He shares the word of God that there is still hope … if only the people could come to their senses, if only the rulers could repent, he then speaks of a time when restoration will come – and he speaks of the rulers as shepherds – Jeremiah declares the word of God …

I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16. 17At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no longer stubbornly follow their own evil will. (3:15ff)18

What it takes are ‘shepherds after my own heart’ and then ‘all nations shall gather to Jerusalem’ which will  become a blessing to the nations.

It’s telling that in the nativity stories it is shepherds who hear the angels sing, and magi from the east who come.  Even more telling is the way Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God coming and of himself as ‘the Good Shepherd’.  In the Kingdom of god as it should be it takes ‘good shepherds’ – that’s hinted at in Isaiah of Babylon, it is here in Jeremiah, and we shall find ourselves coming back to it even more when we come to the Book of Ezekiel as the New Year dawns.

There’s a second, fascinating strand.  Just like the Book of Isaiah, so too the Book of Jeremiah seems to be made up of different strands.  Towads the end – chapters 37 to 44 are a harrowing narrative of the fall of Jerusalem.  Chapters 46 – 51 are an indictment of the surrounding nations which are shifted to the middle of chapter 25 in the Greek translation of Jeremiah.  In and around those chapters you get a glimpse of how the Prophet Jeremiah’s words were recorded.

In chapter 36 Jeremiah is commanded to write his prophecy in a scroll – so in 36:4 he dictates the scroll to Baruch.  Then the king burns the scroll – and so Jeremiah in defiance dictates another.  AS the book draws towards a close in the wake of the devastation of Jerusalem and exile the writing of the scroll and the reading of the scroll becomes all important.  When the return from exile comes it is Ezra, the Scribe and the reading of the scroll that becomes all important.

The part ‘the scribes’ play in the Gospel story is fascinating – by then they have become guardians of something almost set in stone and very much part of the powers that be – and Jesus stands over against the scribes.  But he is seen as ‘the Word of God’ incarnate – and the writing of the Gospels becomes important so that the words of Jesus are passed on.  In the face of the difficulties of our time we are to treasure the Gospels as we treasure our Scriptures.

In a moment or two we will use the words of Jesus that more than any other echo the hope or restoration and renewal  that is Jeremiah’s hope.

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,* says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

The cup that we shall share is the new covenant in Christ’s blood – and this new covenant is deep within our hearts – Jesus is the fulfilment of all the law and the prophets – not replacing the covenants of old, but ushering in that new covenant – that brings us into the closest relationship possible with God – the relationship that is deep within our hearts.

The chapters around chapter 31 are sometimes known as the book of comfort.  Early on in chapter 31 is the desolation of the wailing at Ramah that is taken up by Matthew in chapter 2 almost as if he is saying the world Jesus is born into is just the same cruel world that Jeremiah experienced.  But immediately after that cry of despair comes a word of hope and renewal that is taken up in that talk of a new covenant written on the heart.

There was one more thing that Jeremiah did as a remarkable statement of hope.  And it comes in chapter 32.  By now the world he has known really is falling apart about his ears as the Babylonian power are erecting their siege engines and preparing to lay siege to Jerusalem itself.  Jeremiah in a remarkable act of defiance bought a field in his home town of Anathoth.  As Jerusalem was collapsing all around him, he bought a field.  He would never see the benefit of it – but he did it as a statement that the renewal, the restoration would come.

Which brings me back to planting trees.  Just when we were driving along Shady Lane past Leicester’s Arboretum Joan Scott’s family were celebrating what would have been Joan Scott’s 100th birthday.  On Tuesday afternoon I sat with them in Room 1 having a tea party recalling those 100 years as we had just planted a tree in the torrential rain in her memory.  None of us there will see that tree in its maturity – but maybe there’s a statement of hope in the future from someone whose story has spanned the last hundred years – and maybe that’s a statement of hope very much in the spirit of Jeremiah.