20th January 2021

I pulled out an old diary and rediscovered what I’d written in anticipation of a trip to the USA. I was excited by the prospect of seeing some of its staggeringly beautiful National Parks and of spending time with relatives, but felt uneasy about visiting the land of Trump, where you can buy guns in supermarkets; of somewhere that still has death row and capital punishment.

With the inauguration of Joe Biden today, America will have a new president… and one who wants to bring an end to capital punishment. How much do we dare hope of a new administration across the Atlantic?

In Advent, not long gone, I read “Celebrating Abundance” (Walter Brueggemann; with thanks to Rachel for making me aware of it). It was wonderfully hopeful: “In Advent… we receive the power of God that lies beyond us. This power is the antidote to our fatigue and cynicism. It is the gospel resolution to our spent self-sufficiency, when we are at the edge of our coping. It is the good news that will overmatch our cynicism that imagines there is no new thing that can enter our world”. It was a book to help you have faith anew that “God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year”.

Perhaps today is an apt day for us to join our fellow citizens across the world in praying:

“Lead us from death to life

From falsehood to truth

Lead us from despair to hope,

From fear to truth.

Lead us from hate to love,

From war to peace

Let peace fill our hearts,

Our world, our universe.”

Ruth Allen