Hope has gotten a lot of press recently, from Pres. Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope to the ridicule of his understanding of hope by his opponents. Since the time of the Apostle Paul, Hope has been a Christian virtue, a characteristic that promotes our individual and joint well being. I believe hope is a characteristic that helps us love God with all our heart. For Christians, I believe, hope springs from knowing that the way things are, are not the way things will always be. Furthermore we are hopeful because we know we are not alone in our darkest nor our brightest hour.
We are hopeful that the world as it is will not always be as it is because we believe the resurrected Jesus Christ to be the first born of a new creation called the kingdom of God. We are all able through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to be new creations as well. This new creation is not run on fear as our current world is; rather it is run on love, not on separation or individualism; rather on community. In the new creation we are in communion with God, communion with our neighbors, and in communion with nature. We are hopeful for this new creation because we know the great stories of the past and want to be a part of the great stories of now.
We are hopeful because we are not alone. This is one of the great messages of the cross. God incarnate, the divine one in human flesh, was willing to suffer and die. God is not separate from our suffering. God has experienced it too. To put it colloquially, God has been there and done that. Hope does not deny the suffering of the world. It is not Pollianna with rose colored glasses. If God incarnate wound up on a cross how we could we expect anything different. Hope is motivation to keep moving forward despite the pain and suffering common to life. Hope is knowing that God will be with us no matter what we do or what is done to us. Hope is a christian virtue.
Questions for today:
How would you define hope?
When do you and what makes you feel hopeful?
(First posted in 2009, revised 5 April 2011)