At a poignant moment in this movie Peter Parker watches a recording of his girlfriend’s graduation speech, a speech in which she not only talks about hanging onto hope, but calls her audience to be hope for others. She points out that it’s easy to feel hopeful on a beautiful, successful day, but it’s in the dark, lonely, crisis times that we most need hope. That’s when it’s so necessary. One of the Biblical writers tells us: ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ It also ranks alongside faith and love in Paul’s top three qualities.
The Bible is jammed full of people who become hope for others. They stand up against a tide of evil, or loss, or despair. Gideon is frightened but he publicly destroys a pagan shrine. Ruth promises her broken mother-in-law that she will stick by her all the way to death. Jeremiah buys land when everybody else believes the country is going down the pan. God himself appeared, not as a powerful superhero, but as a person who would spend his life meeting others, and being a sign of hope for them.
And we too are called to that. As hard as it may be, as counter cultural as it may be. We live in a blame nation, in a land where it’s popular to be cynical. But Spiderman’s girlfriend invites us to something else. To be hope. To be people who offer a way forward, whether it’s just with a smile, a kind word, an open door, a moment of friendship, a copy of The Big Issue, a secret prayer for another… the list goes on. I’ll never forget the smile offered by a stranger one day when I was in a low place in London. It was 26 years ago (half my life!!) and it still encourages me today.
‘Hang on to hope… become hope for others… even if we fail what better way is there to live?’