Speer Road Church
(United Reformed Church)
The Last Word
Next Lent Churches Together in England is recommending the study book Forty Stories of Hope. All those stories come from an unlikely context, prison. They are stories of prisoners and others involved with prisons and tell of people in the most desperate of situations. Probably many think of prison in that way but for one prisoner who we will call John he writes that “it was the opposite,” before he went into prison he was a serious drug addict doing heroin and crack, but on receiving a prison sentence he started to look seriously at his life. He resolved to use prison as rehab, to get clean form all the drugs and rededicate himself, but he realised that he couldn’t do it on his own, having had a Christian heritage he turned to God in prayer and asked God to guide him, though he says he didn’t expect anything to change. But he found God did guide him, he got a job in prison was able to do the courses he wanted to do; this gave him confidence to pray more and attend chapel and things developed. John writes “Prison was the start of hope. I found that hope in prayer and the teachings of Jesus. For me prison was a lesson in change. All I needed was hope and I got it at every turn. Hope is what keeps us going.”
Another prisoner writes “For me life changed when, in the deepest, darkest depths of my despair, all alone in my prison cell, I read the bible from cover to cover and it changed something in me! I found hope- I found the hope! Christ alone can take your guilt and shame!” This person had had a rollercoaster ride, and with Christ turned his life around, there are many stories like that in this book.
We will be studying this book at the Lyfe group and copies will be available for personal study. As we enter 2018 let us reflect on our faith and the difference Jesus makes to people’s lives makes to our life.
May the peace of Christ be with you in 2018,