28th June 2024

In a recent Marvel film, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Spider-Man’s girlfriend MJ (played by Zendaya) sets out her somewhat gloomy philosophy of life. Near the beginning of the film, she comments, ‘If you expect disappointment, then you can never really be disappointed.’

There is a certain logic to this idea, and we might be inclined to agree with her. When we experience knock-backs in life—when we are passed over for a promotion, for example, when we don’t get the exam results we want, or when we don’t get invited to that big party we have heard about—we can be tempted to give up hoping. We can make up our minds that it would be less painful for us to shut down our hopes for the future, which might lead to more disappointment, and instead just live day to day.

As Christians, however, we know that we should be recognised for our hope. It should be one of our distinguishing characteristics! In one of his letters, St Peter instructs us to be ready to explain our hope to others, because he expects others to notice it and ask us about it (1 Peter 3:15). St Paul also wants Christians to be hopeful people. He reveals the reason why: we worship the ‘God of hope’ who can fill us with all joy and peace and give us abundant hope through the power of his Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

Hope is the theme of our Learning4Life morning this Sunday. This will be the third Learning4Life Sunday Stephen Golding and I have led. On these Sundays, we take the time to study a biblical theme together in more depth than we can in a normal Holy Communion service. On previous Learning4Life Sundays we have talked about the Resurrection and Wisdom. This time we will be discussing questions such as What can we hope for in our lives as Christians today? What can we hope for the future of God’s creation? What can we hope for after death? and What do these hopes mean for the way we live now? We’ll spend some time in sung worship and chat over refreshments too.

Do you sometimes feel that you could sympathise with MJ’s philosophy in Spider-Man: No Way Home? Well, she has a change of heart by the end of the film—watch it if you want to find out how. Better still, join us at St Mary’s on Sunday. We hope you’ll have a change of heart too.

Matthew Briggs