Each day of Lent we hope to give you a favourite verse, poem, saying or reading of picture from members of the Ness Group. Something that lifts their spirits, and hopefully yours, because this Lent we are all about hope!

When hope does awaken, an entire life awakens along with it. One comes fully to life. It begins to seem indeed that one has never lived before. One awakens to a life that is eternal in prospect, a life that opens up before one, all the way to death and beyond, a life that seems to be able to endure death and survive it. Wherever hope rises, life rises.

John s. Dunne

O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;

You have kept me alive,

that I should not go down to the pit.

Weeping may endure for a night,

But joy comes in the morning.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Psalm 30 verses 3,5,11-12

When we are feeling low, there is always hope in the darkness. However dark life may feel look to the God of all comfort, strength and peace, and He will give you hope.

A quote about hope from RC Sproil

Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.

Life ends when you stop dreaming. Hope ends when you stop believing and love ends when you stop caring. So dream hope and love, Makes Life Beautiful.

Hope is not an idea; it is God’s commitment to the people He loves.

Everyday people languish for hope. Situations confront us that rob us of the possibility of tomorrow. Memories of our past behaviour or circumstances, strained relationships of failed dreams can push us so far into despair that God becomes a foreigner and hope another language.

But we should never lose hope because the whole of Scripture is a catalogue of God’s commitment to bring hope to the world.

It’s all about hope.

Each day of Lent we hope to give you a favourite verse, poem, saying or reading of picture from members of the Ness Group. Something that lifts their spirits, and hopefully yours, because this Lent we are all about hope!


Our hope…

The Christian hope is the hope which has seen everything and endured everything, and still has not despaired, because it believes in God. The Christian hope is not hope in the human spirit, in human goodness, in human endurance, in human achievement; the Christian hope is hope in the power of God.

William Barclay

Thoughts on hope continue as we journey through Lent.

Optimism means faith in men, in the human potentiality; hope means faith in God in His omnipotence.

Carlo Carretto

Hope is lived, and it comes alive, when we go outside of ourselves and, in joy and pain take part in the lives of others.

Jurgen Moltmann

Thoughts on hope, because we are all about hope!

I remember a programme on TV. A young woman, whose baby son had disappeared a year ago while they were on holiday on a Greek island, was being interviewed. She still hoped he would be found and that they would be reunited. There was something inside her which gave her hope, though she didn’t know what it was.

An important verse of Scripture is: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope’. One of God’s attributes is ‘hope’. As a consequence of the divine inbreathing a seed or a spark of this ‘God of hope’ resides in the depth of our being. I wonder if this is meant to be catalysed or brought to life in baptism and confirmation when we specifically receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. When we receive the bread and wine in a communion service, I wonder if we receive an increase in this ‘God of hope’. I wonder if the source of all hope in us comes alive so that ‘by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope’.

The odds were stacked against Jesus, but he was rooted and grounded in hope, and went out to transform the world. How work still goes on, and we are invited to play our part – in hope.

William Sykes

Lent – Hope Reflection

Another message of hope, because this Lent is all about hope.

The Challenge

For I know the plans I have for you

After a period of time discovering God and what it meant for me to be a Christian, I was given my first challenge.

It came out of the blue, I saw my name down on the Service Sheet for giving a talk(sermon) on Easter Sunday. At first, I wasn’t alarmed because I thought it was an error, I had never done one before and so there was no reason for me to suppose I should be giving one now.

After checking, I was told that it was no error and it was thought that I could do it. Words could not describe how shocked and terrified I was on hearing this. Thoughts went through my head to say no, it wasn’t my thing, I couldn’t do it, but the story of Peter denying Jesus 3 times rang in my ears. This was Easter, and if I called myself a Christian, did I not have anything to say about my faith at this most important time.

I felt I couldn’t say no but the question remained, what was I going to say?

Thoughts went round my head, the fear never lessened. I discovered that I couldn’t write down and read what my thoughts were because I couldn’t read without losing my place if I took my eyes of the paper. Doubts and confusion took hold.

Come the morning I was almost shaking with fear dreading the moment when I would be called to speak. But then something happened. I hymn was sung, I can’t remember which one but the words gave me courage and calmed the fears. I asked God to speak for me and he came to my rescue. I stood up and words flowed from me. I had never experienced anything like it. Afterwards the congregation clapped and cheered but I didn’t know what I said.

The memory of this still says with me but what I have leant from this experience is that if I just trust in the One who has all things in his hand, it will work out all right. Sometimes we just have to step out in faith so God can act on our behalf.

He never lets us down. In Him all hope can be found.

Jane Kelly

Another message of hope, because this Lent is all about hope.

The Bargain

“Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you as well” Matthew Ch 6 verse 33.

When I was thinking about what to say about my Christian journey it occurred to me that I should start at the beginning.

So here we are: – When I first walked into St. Michaels Church one Sunday morning, I was not looking for God or wanting to discover Christianity. My life was busy and demanding and so I was not looking for an extra layer of responsibility or burden of being a Christian. Looking back, it was almost a fluke, no reasoning behind it except it seemed “a good idea “at the time.

But when I sat and listened to the service there was something I felt that just seemed “right”. I didn’t understand all that was going on and neither did I like singing some of the hymns, (still not a fan of the dirges). But there still remained something that made me want to go back and happily my husband felt the same! So go back we did.

There came a time when I felt that I had to make a decision, was I going to sign up for this or not. I did not want to just go to church and go through the motions, something had to change. I made a bargain with God, I said “Look God, if I am going to try to walk the Christian path, then I want you to be a God that I can see act, be a God that does something”. Just like to stories in the Bible. I didn’t want any silent partner.

For my part I knew I would have to put some effort into learning and discovering God. As we explored together we were led on a journey of discovery.

Now, I know that God is with me. This verse in Matthew is one of my life verses. Whenever I have a “what shall I do Lord” moment this is always my answer. Ask Him. He has shown himself in many extraordinary ways through my life. Now I neither want or can conceive life without Him.

He is my source of hope. A constant each and every day.

Jane Kelly

It’s all about hope, today another poem.

Everyman’s struggle

He was wrestling in his mind, I saw.

Grey-faced and stoop-shouldered,

Some awful struggle was within him.

His eyes, though sunken and dulled, darted now here, now there,

As if listening to hidden debaters each arguing their case.

In truth it was Despair and Hope that struggled so in him,

Strove each to have their way

And to command his fate.

They seemed fair-matched: first one, then the other giving ground,

First one, then the other seizing the advantage.

Now, his eyes lightened as hope had the upper hand,

Now, he was weighed down by seeming all-conquering despair.

The struggle seemed to reach some climax,

As if the long debate now finally was ended.

His breathing quickened and his head came up,

“Hope wins” he said, and then smiling,

“I win”.

It’s all about hope.

One of the things that cheers me is the sight of the daffodils at the front of Thurlby Church. Spring is the time when there is new life and new beginnings. Hope springs eternal for God has shown that He loves us. Springtime is like a new beginning that has come alive just like the hope that grows in my heart. The joy of the Lord is my strength as I pray and give thanks to Him each day

A beautiful painting by Colin

It’s all about hope!

To love means loving the unlovable.

To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.

Faith means believing the unbelievable.

Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.’


Another poem from Anne Lewin


Prayer is like waiting for the

Kingfisher. All you can do is

Be where he is likely to appear, and


Often, nothing much happens;

There is space, silence and


No visible sign, only the

Knowledge that he’s been there,

And may come again.

Seeing or not seeing cease to matter,

You have been prepared.

But sometimes, when you’ve almost

Stopped expecting it,

A flash of brightness

Gives encouragement.

Another story of hope from Hilary

There is a story about the late great biologist Prof. J.B.S. Haldane being asked a question by theologians – and his answer gave me pause for thought.

The question was, ‘What could one conclude as to the nature of God from a study of his creation?’ Haldane is said to have replied, ‘An inordinate fondness for beetles.’

Beetles constitute about 25% of all known living things with over 4000 species recognised in the UK and rising. For their size some are fiery predators, and not everyone is prepared to live and let live. But the story of God’s concern for the over-looked and insignificant should give us pause for thought. Because if you follow almost any TV nature programme God doesn’t get a look-in. Yet we believe, and know, that he cares for each and every part of his creation. Yes, really cares – and not like us who can be partial and picky about what we care about and what we don’t. So when you come across a beetle in the hopefully warmer weather, be amazed that God loves it as much as he loves you and me. That insignificant creature gives me cause for hope. Hope is being able to look around at what (and who) we live with and see God them, and express our thanks however briefly.

It’s all about hope!

Another poem this time from Vaneet Bansal

What hope means

Hope is bright shining light which keeps darkness at the bay

Hope is gentle cold breeze on a hot summer day

Hope is to remain positive when going gets tough

hope is seeking more when others think u had enough

What hope means

Hope is dreaming of tomorrow

Hope is simmering under sorrow

Hope is sparkles when tears in our eyes

Hope is a beautiful thing & beautiful things never dies

What hope means

Hope is as light as a feather

Hope keeps all of us together

Hope is ubiquitous and free of cost

Hope is the last thing ever lost…..

Another thought from Hilary, as we look back on a stormy February

Trees have to take a lot of battering, no more so than at this time from stormy winds. On my estate in Bourne we are blessed with many verge side trees, hawthorn, ash and laburnum among them. Sometimes there a tree so pushed by the prevailing wind that it looks dead, its bark and branches damaged, bent over and forlorn – and the wonder is that ‘right-thinking people’ haven’t petitioned the council to remove these. But they have a lesson to teach us about resilience; most of them survive to bloom and fruit the following year. When a plant is pushed from one side repeatedly its internal chemicals (yes, plants have ‘hormones’) react to strengthen the fibres on that side, not to resist the push but to make it stronger, a bit like the exercise of taking one arm up and over your head to stretch the side muscles. These trees then keep their vitality but in a skewed form and continue to function for our pleasure in due course. We would be the poorer if everything that didn’t look nice and right was discarded. We can be guilty of seeing people in this way too, unkempt perhaps and on the street begging. We’d rather they were out of sight, but what have their lives encompassed, and hasn’t God given us the ways and means to help them find solutions and hope? I believe so – and the crabby trees will blossom again.

Our first poem… by Anne Lewin


Underneath winter’s struggle for survival

Life waits to be born.

After long periods of apparent desolation

Shoots appear, and colour warms the earth,

Gladdening the heart with hope.

Buried beneath our fears, preoccupations,

Apparent deadness, Life waits:

The growing is in the waiting.

This morning Hilary has some thoughts:

As I write this, the stormy wind of ‘Dudley’ is blowing itself out as we prepare for storm ‘Eunice’ to follow. Given the massive inconvenience and damage caused by such powerful elemental forces you might ask where I find hope in it? Certainly many suffer, and I am not glorifying the storms, but as an image of God’s authoritive power for his world it can be impressive. It is hard to imagine God, and sometimes we need signs and symbols to help us. Perhaps it is too big a thing to contemplate and we just give up and take the power of God as a given. But when you do need the reassurance of his power and might, the picture of vast waves barrelling across the sea, can remind us both of how insignificant we are, and how great is the love of God. I don’t believe in a vengeful God; one who made a pact with the devil to save us from our sinfulness through the innocent death of his Son. I do believe in a God of hope who knows of what we are made, and loves us to the end.

We are trying to give a great variety and people in our group are full of suggestions about what gives them hope, so this morning you have some music with the wonderful Dolly Parton!

A favourite reading suggested by Nick

Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Christ in the Wilderness- Consider the Lillies by Stanley Spencer