Friday, January 05, 2007

What Can we hope for?

I got trapped in an interesting conversation this morning in the locker room. It was a much older man then I, who has been retired from the MPD for over 30 years. It is unusual to hearing complaining at that time in the morning because the early birds are typically optimistic people. This man however felt the need to lament to me about the ills of society. He complained about everything from hippie activists trying to save the trees and the butterflies, to uncontrolled violence in the city and gun control. The conversation ended on a sour note, “we’ve had our best times, nothing we can do about it.”

It might just be the ranting of an elderly man coming to grips with the end of his life. However, his pattern of thinking seems to be prevalent in all of us. In conversations with people I often hear a lament of what once was, and I have to ask, where is the hope?

Hope seems to me to be one of the core characteristics of what it means to be a Christian. I so badly want to shake people when they lament about what once was, and remind them of what will be. The past is not as bright as we might want to think it was. The past is full of as much violence and hatred as the present. The past has its fair share of injustice and downright evil. Do we not worship a God who has promised to make all things new?

Maybe we need to remember that Jesus and his mission are not just about saving individuals for heaven. Ephesians tells us that our personal salvation is really just step one in God’s great dream for recreating all of creation. For all things in heaven and earth have been brought together under one head, that is Christ (Eph 1:10). We can be assured that once again all things, all things, are under the rule of Christ, and will be brought into alignment with the character of Christ, or be destroyed. And this is a reason for hope, because there will come a day when injustices are brought to justice, when tears will cease, when peace will conquer war, when love and mercy win.

If we believe this, let us begin to live like it. Let us seek to be the agents of redemption of hope this world that is so hungry for. Let us not just accept the way of the world and say there is nothing that can be done, because something was done at the cross of Calvary. Hope has come and we should live as people of hope.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind me and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).

What do you think? How can we proclaim hope? How should hope affect our day to day activities?

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