I am interrupting my series of leading spiritually to post this contribution to the monthly synchroblog, this month run in conjunction with provoketive magazine. Links to other posts are included at the end.
A few weeks ago I posted this prayer on facebook:
”Jesus may we see in you the ways of life,
May we love justice, show mercy, practice generosity,
And love our neighbours as we do ourselves.”
Someone called these lofty but admirable goals. On a similar post several months ago someone else called it admirable idealism and another commented – impossible. What kind of hope fills our lives How sad when God’s hope for a world made new are viewed in this way.
Love of neighbour, generosity, mercy and justice are at the heart of the gospel and the backbone of the commands that Jesus invites us to live by. They are the fabric that is meant to shape our lives. At least that is what we tell people or pretend to believe, but underneath do we really think that they are unattainable idealism? Have we lost hope in what God plans to accomplish?
How we live is driven by who we are and what we believe. Asking people to love their neighbours and forgive their enemies is pointless unless we first enable them to confront their inner disbelief in the attainability of these goals. Sure we will never love our neighbours as well as we should and forgiving enemies can be very, very hard but if don’t believe it is possible we will never move an inch towards this seemingly unattainable goal.
One of my great role models in this struggle is the apostile John His story is one of the greatest stories of hope in the Bible. We first meet in Mark 3:17 as one of the Sons of Thunder. I suspect he must have had a pretty fiery temper to be given that name. By the end of the New Testament he known as the Apostle of love.
What an incredible transformation of heart, spirit and life that must have taken place. And I don’t think that it is surprising that we also hear him called “the disciple that Jesus loved” (John 21: 20). The closer we walk with Jesus, the more intimately we enter into the love of his presence, the more possibility we have of being transformed and the more possibility we have of loving justice, showing mercy, practicing generosity and loving our neighbours as we do ourselves.
So what do you think? Is the hope we have in Jesus message attainable idealism or is it a powerful vision of hope and promise for a world transformed and a people reborn?
This blog post is part of a synchroblog on hope. You can find the rest of the posts here:
The Trouble With Hope: John Ptacek
Hope = Possibility x Imagination: Wayne Rumsby
Little Reminders: Mike Victorino
Where Is My Hope: Jonathan Brink
Hope for Hypocrites: Jeremy Myers
Now These Three Remain: Sonny Lemmons
Perplexed, But Still Hopeful: Carol Kuniholm
A Hope that Lives: Amy Mitchell
Generations Come and Generations Go: Adam Gonnerman
Demystifying Hope: Glenn Hager
God in the Dark: On Hope: Renee Ronika Klug
Keeping Hope Alive: Maurice Broaddus
Are We Afraid to Hope?: Christine Sine
On Wobbly Wheels, Split Churches and Fear: Laura Droege
Hope is Held Between Us: Ellen Haroutunian
Hope: In the Hands of the Creatively Maladjusted: Mihee Kim-Kort
Paradox, Hope and Revival: City Safari
Good Theology Saves: Reverend Robyn
Linear: Never Was, Never Will Be: Kathy Escobar
Caroline for Congress: Hope for the Future: Wendy McCaig
Fumbling the Ball on Hope: KW Leslie
Hope: Oh, the Humanity!: Deanna Ogle