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The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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Hope… in Tweets, Prayers and Poems

January 6, 2021

In times of darkness the human spirit fights back, sometimes assertively and sometimes gently and patiently. It’s invariably hope that drives the human spirit when we look into the deep gloom of the moment. Hope is a shining light that we all need right now; my own MP, Caroline Lucas of Brighton Pavilion, stressed the importance of hope when she Tweeted at the year-end: 2020 has been so hard but as we cross over into a new year, let’s remember the power of hope as we face up to the challenges ahead…”

We open with three very different and very special Christian prayers on the theme of hope. These are followed by three special prayers and chants from the Buddhist, Jewish and Hindu traditions. We open with a Buddhist blessing and healing chant, this is followed by The Mi Shebeirach – the Jewish prayer of Healing, and this is followed by the Hindu Gayatri Mantra, which I learned at the Interfaith Seminary. The Gayatri Mantra comes from the Rig Veda. An early Vedic text written between 1800 and 1500 BCE, it’s mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita as the poem of the Divine. It lends itself to interpretations from East to West.

We have two links for the Gayatri Mantra… A lovely traditional Hindu version by Anuradha Paudwal:

And an equally remarkable version by Diva Premal, a German born singer famous for her interpretations of Sanskrit mantras:

After these, something different again – a 19th Century poem that is so much a product of its time; it’s called Plant a Tree, and is written by the American poet Lucy Larcom (1824-1893). It gracefully reveals the relationship between planting a tree and hope. We close with a variety of quotations plus two poetic ventures into the land of hope – one from Ralph Waldo Emerson, the other from Dorothy Parker, adding an uplifting tone to this week’s Words of Connection.

Once more, thank you so much for your interest. Stay strong. May hope make us all stronger in this hour of uncertainty, and inspire us all…

Very best wishes

Chair IFCG



O Christ, Our Morning Star,
Splendour of light eternal,
Shining with the glory of the rainbow,
Come and waken us
From the greyness of our apathy
And renew in us your gift of hope
Venerable Bede (671-735)

God our Mother
Living Water,
River of Mercy
Source of Life,
in whom we live
and move
and have our being,
who quenches our thirst,
refreshes our weariness,
and washes
and cleanses
our wounds,
be for us always
a fountain of life,
and for all the world
a river of hope
springing up in the midst
of the deserts of despair.
Miriam Therese Winter


God of hope, you have given the rainbow as a symbol of your faithfulness;
in its colours you have shown us the variety of human life and your call to
its span between heaven and earth reminds us that our hopes for the future are founded on your grace;
you have turned your face from judgements to redemption and have called us to be peacemakers;

We pray for people whose humanity is denied by others;
for those persecuted or imprisoned because of their religion or their politics;
for those who try to oppress and manipulate others and in so doing lose sight of their own humanity;
for those who work for peace and justice, whatever the cost.

Lord God, make us your rainbow people, glorying in our God-given variety, passionate for peace, trusting in your grace; in the name of Jesus Christ, the hope of the world.
Patterns and Prayers for Christian Worship





Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers,
and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment
of your goodness
flow forth to awaken
and heal all beings–
Those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment
of your goodness,
may your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining
as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment
of your goodness,
may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.
For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom
and compassion, of the Way,
may your life prosper
in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.


The Traditional Jewish prayer of healing

May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless and heal those who are ill [names]. May the Blessed Holy One be filled with compassion for their health to be restored and their strength to be revived. May God swiftly send them a complete renewal of body and spirit, and let us say. Amen



oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt

The eternal, earth, air, heaven
That glory, that resplendence of the sun
May we contemplate
the brilliance of that light
May the sun inspire our minds.
Rigveda 3.62.1


Lucy Larcom (1824-1893)

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
Rootlets up through fibres blindly grope;
Leaves unfold into horizons free.
So man’s life must climb
From the clods of time
Unto heavens sublime.
Canst thou prophesy, thou little tree,
What the glory of thy boughs shall be?

He who plants a tree
Plants a joy;
Plants a comfort that will never cloy;
Every day a fresh reality,
Beautiful and strong,
To whose shelter throng
Creatures blithe with song.
If thou couldst but know, thou happy tree,
Of the bliss that shall inhabit thee!

He who plants a tree,–
He plants peace.
Under its green curtains jargons cease.
Leaf and zephyr murmur soothingly;
Shadows soft with sleep
Down tired eyelids creep,
Balm of slumber deep.
Never hast thou dreamed, thou blessed tree,
Of the benediction thou shalt be.

He who plants a tree,–
He plants youth;
Vigor won for centuries in sooth;
Life of time, that hints eternity!
Boughs their strength uprear;
New shoots, every year,
On old growths appear;
Thou shalt teach the ages, sturdy tree,
Youth of soul is immortality.

He who plants a tree,–
He plants love,
Tents of coolness spreading out above
Wayfarers he may not live to see.
Gifts that grow are best;
Hands that bless are blest;
Plant! life does the rest!
Heaven and earth help him who plants a tree,
And his work its own reward shall be.



Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson


Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…
Alfred Lord Tennyson


You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.
Pablo Neruda


The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
Barack Obama


There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster. The Dalai Lama


Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Stephen King



I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death. Nelson Mandela



Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
Ralph Waldo Emerson



Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
Dorothy Parker