Rural hope - share the small and beautiful things in life

07 February 2022

Sarah Hulme, Rural Mission & Ministry Officer, shares some hopeful thoughts as we emerge from the dark winter months.


As I was sat on the sofa pondering the state of the rural church (as you do on a Sunday evening!) and longing for more signs of hope after a challenging week of wintery gloom, I was really challenged by the imagery from this scene from The Green Planet


It shows the devastating effects of a forest fire; the aftermath, scorched earth, no apparent signs of life anywhere. This is sometimes our reality, especially in winter months where we can struggle to imagine warm sunshine and light-filled days. It can sometimes also feel like our church reality, with things having changed rapidly during the pandemic. And yet, from this place of death and desolation emerges the most beautiful new life, these fire lilies described quite aptly by Sir David Attenborough as ‘small & un-showy, but that’s all they need to be!’ What bright hope they offer into this charred landscape, rekindling colour, offering nectar to pollinators, pioneering the regrowth.

I see such delicate beauty in these fragile flowers, the first things to emerge after only four days. This is also what I see and hear as I’m privileged to listen to individuals speaking about their own local rural contexts – something fragile, yet beautiful is starting to emerge in some of our communities that may well have felt burnt out or written off. There’s something very relatable in the description of ‘small and un-showy.’ There’s also a real sense of this not being humanly possible. It’s not about more effort from exhausted and overwhelmed individuals, but a surrender of our hopes, a deep listening to what God is up to and a willingness to join in, being ‘all we need to be’ in these familiar yet changed places.

Hope and encouragement amidst death and despair, beauty from ashes.

How does this resonate with you in your local context? What small and un-showy things are emerging? Do get in touch and share the small, probably fragile, beautiful things that are emerging where you are. It will be a great encouragement!

Contact Sarah Hulme to share your stories of hope.

Find out more about our rural mission and ministry here