SP Paramo

photo: Paramo

(So, I am sitting calmly at a 4 Corners Festival event last evening listening to the amazing poetry of Damian Gorman and the songwriting of Anthony Toner and I get a text to remind me what I had completely forgotten... I was on Pause For Thought with Vanessa this morning on BBC Radio 2. AHHHH!!! Panic! Thankfully being three days into a festival I knew there were enough resources to find a thought. I chose this one as the them was Signs Of Hope)


I love American Christian activist Jim Wallis’s line - “hope is believing in spite of the evidence and watching the evidence change”. 

Last Friday night I had the privilege of interviewing Gary Lightbody, front man in Snow Patrol whose Chasing Cars is the most played song on British radio in the 21st Century, in front of 400 people at the 4 Corners Festival .

Gary is a warm charming and authentic human being. He has been very honest about his mental health issues in the past and he told us an amazing story. In his worst days, he had isolated himself to an apartment in LA. Things had got so bad that he had stopped answering texts or emails. His band mates were thousands of miles away in the UK. He was cut off.

At this darkest moment there was knock at his door. He found enough courage to answer and there outside his door were those four band mates - Jonny, Jonny, Nathan and Paul. They knew the evidence was not good and so they acted to make the evidence change. 

The story has been a dog at my heels all weekend. It won’t leave my mind. How inspirational and challenging is this story of 4 best friends bringing hope in a hopeless place.

The great hopelessness of our modern world is isolation. So many people are isolated and hopelessness comes on its coat tails. 

I have come to believe that the greatest Christian word might be WITH. Jesus had this other name Emmanuel which means “God with us”. We use it a lot, thinking about Jesus birth, at Christmas. 

Rev Sam Wells has written books about how Jesus spent 30 years of his 33 years on earth of his life just BEING WITH people. No miracles, no stories, no preaching just being with... 90% of his life.

Maybe that tells me the importance a God of hope puts on friendship, relationship, connection. Today, wherever I go there are people feeling hopelessly isolated. Just a hello, a pause to listen, a knock at a door might make all the difference. In spite of the evidence maybe I can be, like Gary’s band mates or like Jesus coming to earth, signs of hope doing my bit as I watch the evidence change. 


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