Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Hope, Part 1

Three stories to talk about hope:
First story - Have you ever watched the television show Castle? The main character's name is Richard Castle.  He grew up as the son of a single mom; they didn't have much money, but they got by.  He grew up to be a rich author who follows a homocide detective around for story inspiration.  During one episode, he's trying to explain to her why he loves Christmas - why it is so important to him.  As he was growing up, even though he and his mother didn't have much money, she made each Christmas special.  She is an actress, and each Christmas, she put on a production of the Nutcracker, right in their cramped apartment. It gave him hope that something better would be coming.

Second story - The President of the Foundation where I work has a habit of responding to the question, "How are you?" with "Better."  For someone who works with him and hears this often, it can get just a little annoying.  The usual response from the unsuspecting questioner is a concerned, "Oh, were you sick?"  No, I'm just better.  A couple of Sundays ago, our associate pastor used this as an example of what sanctification is.  For me, it turned something that is usually a little annoying to a light of hope.  I'm being sanctified.  I'm better than yesterday.

Third story - Last Sunday was the Sunday each year when we remember our baptism.  For me, it was an especially moving morning of worship.  Water - symbolized by fabric - flowed from the altar to surround a urn that was a fountain.  Moving, living water.  People brought bottles of water and placed them around the altar as a response to a chemical leak into the water supply in the Kanawha Valley.  During worship we talked about how we can be a more welcoming congregation - to everyone.  We sang about wading into the water, and how God will trouble the water.  It was a morning of hope.

So, what is hope, and why do we have hope?  Hope is not wishful thinking - hope is not, "I hope we have ice cream for dessert.  Hope is certainty.  Hope, I think, comes from our faith that Christ is with us.

Ephesians 4:1-6  I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

For someone like the character in Castle, there is hope in the knowledge that he is loved so much that his mother would make Christmas a special time in their lives.  There is hope in the idea that God loves us so much that God doesn't give up on us.  Each day God works in us so that we are better.  There is hope in the idea that a group of people can be a church - not just a gathering of people, but a body of Christ, making a difference in the world.



Post a Comment

<< Home