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WEEK 20: GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US

Hi all! Week 20 comes with a FREE GIVEAWAY! Michael has written a reflection for us on how God is always with us; we need only look for him. He can even be found listening to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack. What I love about Michael's story is how it speaks of the beautiful, generous, and often unexpected ways that God reaches out to us.


I know Michael through Ruth, his daughter. Ruth and I have been friends for nearly a decade. During that time, not only I have watched her fight to live life to the full whilst suffering a chronic illness but I have also seen her encourage others along the way. She now has over 15,000 followers on TikTok and over 3,000 followers on Instagram, where she dispenses hope and wisdom. I am immeasurably proud to be her friend.


Free giveaway: Tote and bag
Free giveaway: tote and bag from WilloRoo

One of Ruth's mottos is: "Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day". She has kindly donated a tote bag with this message on as well as a "broken is beautiful" bag from her WilloRoo store for Hope Hour to give away to one lucky person!


Ruth also has a whole range of other products, including clothing, mugs, blankets, water bottles, pens and more! Head over to her online store to see the full collection.


Find out how to enter the free giveaway for a chance to win at the end of Michael's story.



 

In Michael's words...

Michel Quoist: Prayers of Life

Forty years ago when I was a student I discovered Michel Quoist’s wonderful book Prayers of Life and as I’ve journeyed through my own life, the wisdom of his words have been affirmed through my own personal experience. God is always with us and his presence can be felt all around us if we are only prepared to listen and look for him in our lives and in the world. And sometimes there are moments when I have felt God particularly close – reminding me in a very personal way of his presence and his love.


Hospital corridor

This Easter I was able to participate in all the services in Holy Week which was a real blessing - but last Easter it was different. Our daughter, Ruth, has a long term chronic illness and at that time she was in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. On the Saturday evening before Palm Sunday she contracted an infection which developed into sepsis and she became seriously ill. I was due to lead a Church service on Palm Sunday but wasn’t able to do so because I was at the hospital with Ruth. Thankfully she received good care and was able to recover but visiting her in hospital each day meant that I was unable to participate in the Easter Services as I would normally have done.


Through the week as I drove back-and-forth to the hospital, I played the CD of Jesus Christ Superstar on my car stereo. Some fellow Christians are dismissive of this musical which tells the story of Jesus’ journey to Calvary but ends abruptly at the crucifixion without any reference to the resurrection. However, I find the music both challenging and moving and I played the songs to help me think through the events of Holy Week.


Car Radip

On Good Friday I was playing the CD in my car and had reached the 16th track which is the title song – Jesus Christ Superstar. For some reason I decided to pull up at the side of the road while the song was playing to listen properly to the music and reflect on the meaning of the words. The song was followed by the penultimate track which is 3 minutes 26 seconds long and speaks the words of Jesus from the cross ending with ‘Father into your hands I commend my spirit’. As these words were spoken I looked up at the clock on the car radio and saw that the time was precisely 3 pm – the very time, Luke tells us, when ‘the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two’ and Jesus having said ‘Father into your hands I commend my spirit’, ‘breathed his last’ (Luke 23: 44-49).


This hadn’t been planned, I hadn’t realised the time at all until the song concluded with those words of Jesus – but at that moment I felt God’s presence very close to me. I felt his love and I remembered Jesus own words to his disciples in Matthew 20:28 ‘I am with you always to the end of the age’.


The crucifixion is the most powerful symbol of God‘s love for us – but it isn’t the end!


We have hope through the joy of Easter and we have the assurance that in Jesus and, through the Holy Spirit, God is with us wherever we are - if we’re only prepared to look at the world through his eyes and be alert to his presence.


Ruth and Laura stealing away for an afternoon at the cinema!
Ruth and Laura stealing away for an afternoon at the cinema!
 

Author: Michael

Michael is a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church. He worked in Prisons and Probation for 36 years and is now Chair at Whitechapel Mission providing support for the homeless in East London. He lives in Buckinghamshire with Christine but still loves Leeds United and Yorkshire cricket.



 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION


There are two ways to enter the giveaway this week...

  1. On Instagram: head on over to the Hope Hour account to find out how. Please note, you will need an Instagram account to enter the competition this way.

  2. Here on the blog:

  • Make sure you are subscribed to receive the Hope Hour blog.

  • Leave a comment below!

  • Share the blog with a friend who you think would like it and email hopehourcontact@gmail.com to confirm you've done so.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Please read the full Giveaway Terms and Conditions! Below are some helpful highlights:

  • All entries must be received by 23:59 on Monday 20th May 2024.

  • One (1) winner in the United Kingdom will be selected at random by Hope Hour on Tuesday 21st May 2024 and the winner will be notified on or after this date.

  • Entrants must be over 18 years old on the date of their entry.

  • Instagram or Facebook are not in any way affiliated or involved in the competition.

  • Only one entry per person per competition will be accepted.

 

Thank you all so much for reading this story of God connecting with his people. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Please do subscribe to receive these stories each week and share with others too!


Click here to see the ways you can support Hope Hour.


You can also follow Hope Hour on Instagram.


Until next week,


Name: Laura





Founder: Laura


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1 Comment


rebecca.olsen40
4 days ago

What a wonderful and inspiring story. Thank you.

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