As we move out of lockdown and begin to feel a little less threatened by Covid-19, some aspects of mental well-being begin to be recognised as important.

One such quality is optimism.

Optimism is rooted in hope.

Hope is expressed in “asking” prayers; and for many people this is the commonest kind of prayer.

We pause to reflect on our hopes for the future.

Sometimes, such reflection leads to little more than a wish list – that we can have another holiday in the sun or whatever.

Yet perhaps optimism and hope need to be more ambitious and more open-minded than that.

The Christian Gospels tell the story of a group of people – the disciples – who learned to hope and work for a better world.

We cannot know what aspirations the disciples may have had before they met Jesus Christ. Perhaps a fisherman had a dream of owning his own state-of-the-art fishing boat.

Perhaps others may have imagined owning houses and land to pass on to their children.

Certainly, they hoped for a Messiah who would make their nation great again, leading to greater worldly power and wealth.

But they discovered a very different message, based on the values of love, equality and justice.

We all have aspirations for the changed, post-pandemic world – for our families, our communities, our churches and our world.

As we think and pray about the future, let’s open our minds to new and unforeseen opportunities.

There may be better ways ahead than we ever imagined.

Alvene and John Costello

Carver Uniting Church