Steve Croft is the bishop of Sheffield. Brave man, he crossed the Pennines to speak to the whole gathered clergy of Blackburn Diocese about mission. And he was very good indeed.
I especially liked the first thing he said. He talked about HOPE being a virtue, and we need to reclaim it and practise it. I guess working at Cranmer Hall, which he did before he was bishop, he would have had this practically reinforced by NT Wright, who writes powerfully about it.
I remember John Coles making the point, amusingly, but very importantly, that we are ‘dealers in hope’ – it summarises in a word what we are equipped with to minister (make known) to the world – to our neighbour.
Even when we are confused, suffering, hurting, we are still able to give hope. How often do I, or people in the visiting team, go and visit someone in need, only to find we come away blessed.
Hope challenges, discomforts, refreshes, uncovers, empowers.
When you open your mouth, let it season everything you say.