I am writing this in the week in January when the Prime Minister has been making a major speech on the government’s Brexit strategy and the term “trade deal” has been bandied about freely. I am sure it wasn’t necessarily the intention of the PM but it is a timely reminder that “Fairtrade Fortnight” is  approaching. This year it runs from 27th February to 12th March and although we can buy fairly traded goods at any time of the year, during this particular two week period the work of the “Fairtrade” organization is highlighted and it gives us a focussed opportunity to think about, pray for and actively support “Fairtrade.” At Emmanuel we have our own stall and we are very grateful to Jeanne Lewis for championing the cause by so effectively running our Fairtrade operation.

As the prophet Amos encouraged the Israelites in the 8th century BC let us continue to take his words to heart in our own time, particularly during Fairtrade Fortnight:-

 “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

I am writing this not just in the week but the on very day (20th January) when Donald Trump takes the oath of office and becomes the 45th President of the United States. What that will mean for America and the world remains to be seen. Hopefully something of his mother’s Scottish Presbyterian upbringing on the Isle of Lewis may have rubbed off on her youngest son!!

There has not been much sign of it during the election campaign, or since, but we live in hope. The Bible writers, particularly St Paul, often speak of “hope.” By “hope” Paul does not mean a vague uncertainty like we might say, “I hope the train is on time” or “I hope it is a nice day tomorrow.” No – Paul’s definition of hope is – faithfully trusting in God and committing ourselves to his good purposes believing that we are his beloved children in this life and beyond. As Paul wrote to the young church in first century Rome:-

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

 The writer of the Biblical letter, “To the Hebrews” likened hope to an anchor for the soul. (Hebrews 6:19) An anchor of a ship holds the vessel firm and secure no matter what storms are breaking around it. Christian hope acts for us in much the same way. The hymn writer, Priscilla Jane Owens had this verse from Hebrews in mind when she penned her famous hymn, “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?” She answers her own rhetorical question in the words of the hymn’s chorus:-

“We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
fastened to the Rock which cannot move, 
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!”

The incumbents of the White House, 10 Downing Street and the Kremlin come and go, God’s love as revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is eternal.