Wow, I cannot believe it is already that time of year for Advent. This first week is the week of Hope, hope in what is to come with the Birth of Jesus. But as I think about statement, it is bit of a lie, isn’t it? We are not hoping for what is to come, we live in Hope of what has happened. Jesus was born and lived many years ago, our liturgical season is designed to help us remember and reflect on scripture and Jesus life and ministry.
So, what is Hope? Today, Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” But there is actually an ‘archaic’ definition of Hope, “A Feeling of Trust.” Now, is not the archaic definition more of the Hope we speak of in Church? In my mind, and my faith, we are called not to wait for something to happen, but to be part of the happening. We are called to share the Good News, to change the world for the better by loving our neighbor, by fighting for our neighbor so that they are treated like the creation of God they are. This is a living, breathing faith where we have Hope (Trust) in Jesus message and call for us to follow him. For us, hope should not be a thing of the future, but a thing of the present. Sure, we can hope for a better future, but our hope should also be in that we are doing the work to create that better future now.
It is actually quite funny, I hear people speak of reading the Bible to calm down, which I admit to having a few times where this has happened, but more often the not, when I read scripture and dive deep into it, I get all fired up for doing God and Jesus’ work in this world. I want to let people know that they are loved, I want to yell out against people being harmed in the name of religion, I want to fight against people being treated less than what they are, God’s loving creation.
The unfortunate thing is that Church as an institution has moved away from this, but I see a bright future for faith. I have hope in Jesus, that his message will inspire a new generation, that his Good News is louder than hate speech and I believe that the ever-changing landscape of Church and Ministry will help that. Now, if you think this sounds a little crazy, I want to invite you to reflect on it a bit, perhaps read through scripture (especially the Gospels). How often is the language about changing things? How often is it about caring for others, for fighting for others who are unable to fight for themselves? Reflect on how the Good News speaks to walking with people on their journey, not forcing them on yours, but going with them on theirs.
Well, before I keep ranting, I think I am just going to end it with that idea for reflection and pray that all are well this week and that your Hope in Jesus grows stronger this Advent Season.