Hope Springs Eternal
Tuesday May 26th
Hope Valley, Derbyshire: From Mam Tor to Losehill
Once in a lifetime
History says, Don't hope
on this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime,
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.
From Philoctetes by Sophocles, translated by Seamus Heaney
It was announced earlier this month that the 2020 Templeton Prize Laureate this year is
Geneticist and physician Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. Francis led the Human Genome Project to its successful completion in 2003 and throughout his career has advocated for the integration of faith and reason, Previous Laureates have included Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela.
It is unusual for a scientist to receive this honour. However, Francis Collins has long argued that science and theology have distinct contributions to make to the understanding of every aspect of life and are not necessarily contradictory. They are two separate disciplines that can both shed light on who and what we are.
He has recently joined the team of scientists at the White House who are advising the USA on how to deal with the pandemic. When questioned about his role within a team under the authority of Donald Trump, he responded that all he and his colleagues were there to do was to offer advice and tell the truth. We have seen other advisers, both in America and in Britain who have offered the truth, but not always been listened to. Or so it seems.
Dominic Cummings aside, it has been difficult to have confidence in the words emanating from Downing Street briefings over the weeks. How much more difficult if you have a President who flies in the face of most of the sound medical advice on offer. Political expediency seems to be winning over truth and honesty at present. We can but hope that despite that divergence, or because of a sea-change in Government values, we will come through this crisis with a new appetite for building a better society.
Francis Collins commented, 'If there is anything more infectious than a virus – it is hope.'
May we all catch a good dose of it!
Sometimes, things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seems hard frozen. May it happen for you.
Sheenagh Pugh from Selected Poems
Mother, Father God,
Give us hope for a future
where at least some of our dreams come true:
for governments who seek to serve the common good,
for communities where there is a sense of significance and solidarity,
for healthcare for all and a meal on every table.
Edale from Hope, looking towards Kinder