Ebola, war, terrorism, injustice, inequality, squalid government, torture. Sometimes the inventory of cruelty and suffering seems overwhelming. The temptation to spiral into despair and the cynicism born of helplessness can assail us all. But sometimes a glimmer comes in the darkness and smallness no longer seems to equal futility.
This morning I took part in Meeting for Worship in the small 18th century Friends Meeting House at Calf Cop in North Yorkshire. Situated in that area known to Quakers as '1652 country' where the borders of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria come within a few miles of each other, the Meeting House stands in a quiet burial ground bordered by pine trees and looks across an open landscape to the massive flat-topped mountain of Ingleborough.
Genuine hope is quite different from optimism or wishful thinking, says Simon Barrow. To understand it we need fresh eyes attuned to the artfulness of reality and the presence of love even in the midst of suffering.
Stuff happens in life - sometimes not very pleasant things, like being daignosed with cancer. Deirdre Good says the Gospel is about nurturing hopeful acceptance not blame in the face of both adversity and prejudice.
Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, who experienced first-hand the military dictatorship of Idi Amin, has called upon religious and political leaders – not least current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni – to end to the “suffering and misery” of those impacted by the bloody conflict in Northern Uganda.
Renewed violence in the Gaza Strip has exacerbated the humanitarian situation in a territory Palestinians call the "world's largest prison", say church and human rights organizations - writes Chris Herlinger for Ecumenical News International from Gaza City.