So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Hope is critical to all who give and receive in our wide range of ministries. We are in the business of Hope. But it is not unfounded Hope or a blind belief. Our Hope is underpinned by the powerful combination of our faith in a loving God, by the teaching and example of Jesus and in the expertise and commitment of all associated with our ministries.
The Gospels repeatedly give us examples of people who came to Jesus with Hope in their hearts: the woman who touched his cloak, lepers or, as in the following example, the blind man:
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (Luke 18:35-43)
Hope took people in His community to Jesus and they became people of faith. They were transformed, liberated from their afflictions and they in turn liberated others by their example.
Similarly, in our Ministries, in health, aged care, social services and education, our communities come with an expectation that they will be cared for, educated and transformed more fully into the person they Hope they can be.
Our research facilities have a special role: they help to transform medicine and treatments so that the Hope of researchers of a better life for thousands of people can be realised.
Our hospitals care for and give Hope to those who are ill and suffering. Our aged care facilities respect the long lives and contributions of all residents and so give Hope every day. Our social services instil Hope by caring for the victims of domestic violence, the homeless, the incarcerated, those far from home in a time of medical need, the isolated and housebound. And our schools give Hope not only for the students and their families but for all society in helping to build communities of the future.
During our recent stewardship visit to St Vincent’s Public Hospital Melbourne. We also had the honour of visiting our people who provide health services to prisoners at Port Phillip prison. Everyone we met showed a beautiful, quiet dignity and pride in what they did. They not only tended to the prisoners’ various health needs – they offered them Hope in a world where often there seemed to be no Hope. It was for us, the strongest possible example of our mission – to reach out and care for those most vulnerable.
We live in times when people are searching for purpose and Hope in their lives. Every day thousands who serve and are served in our diverse ministries live that purpose and Hope in a modern-day re-enactment of the work of Mary Aikenhead.
Ms Janet Freeman
Trustee, Mary Aikenhead Ministries