by Christine Sine
This has been a very challenging week. The inauguration on Friday of a new president, followed by protest marches across the U.S. and around the world, have had many of us oscillating between despair and hope. My greatest concern is that in the midst of venting our strong feelings we lose the ability to listen to each other and increase the conflict and the divide between us. Hope so easily gives way to despair and faith is replaced by doubt.
Transitions are always uncomfortable. Moving from the familiar through the unknown into something new that has never been seen before brings out all of our insecurities. It often creates turmoil, discord and unrest. Restoring our hope in God at times like this can, however, be a transforming experience.
On Saturday night we had some good friends over for dinner and Tom asked me to write a prayer on hope for the evening. Hope, I thought, what is there to be hopefully about? So I went looking for hope. I did a search on biblegateway.com of the word hope. First I searched in the New International Version, then in the New Living Translation and finally in The Voice, all of which give different perspectives on the Bible.
Some verses proclaimed where our hope lay – in the eternal God, in Christ our Saviour, in God’s call to be a covenant family and to seek God’s eternal kingdom of love, peace, justice and compassion. Others described hope – never ending, ever present, never failing. By the time I finished my prayer I found that my own emotional state had changed completely. I had regained my hope in God and God’s eternal purposes.
What I realized as I wrote this prayer is that hope in God is not an ephemeral, intangible emotion that we can artificially conjure up. First it must be grounded in our trust in God and in what we believe about who God is. Second it must be put into action. The act of writing a prayer and then reciting it out loud with friends was a reviving experience but it is an act that must be followed by concrete action. So this week I am looking for ways to practice my hope in our community .
So my question for all of us today is: Do we have the courage to participate in Jesus’ mission and make his message of hope concrete and tangible in a world where inequality, injustice, and hate seem to reign? Beyond this weekend, how do we intend to practice the kind of hope our faith gives us and bring glimpses of God’s eternal world of justice, equality, love and compassion into being?