Don’t Give Up Hope

If your resolution has hit some bumps in the road, don’t give up hope!

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8: 25
I originally wrote a very frustrated, okay- angry, post about our global lack of compassion regarding the state of a child’s life

(and yes, I have mirror). From hunger to war, grown-ups need to be better adults! Thousands die from war and random gun violence, millions die of malnutrition, and millions more remain in poverty, unable to escape or rise above the conditions of their birth.

It gets better.

Yet, in his book, “Factfulness,” Hans Rosling, posits that for all the not good, terrible things that are our reality, the world is actually becoming a better place to live in than it was 10 years ago, a generation ago, a century ago and longer.

If Paul tells us that we hope in what we cannot see, Rosling is saying, “Look, look back and look at the reality then and now so that we can find hope for the next millennium, the next century, the next generation, the next decade, the next day, in the bits of progress that are becoming reality.” Rosling is criticized for an overly optimistic view. However, read carefully, “Factfulness,” is an invitation to let small change give us the hope of what we dream but cannot see and spur us forward in hope.

The condition of the world for our children is terrible, in places, horrifically apocalyptically catastrophic. In those places, we must intervene with immediate resolutions of food, water, peace. Peace. Peace.

The Christian response

must be rooted in the gospel of peace in order to move toward the reign of Christ we hope to be creating. Rather than solidifying the perspective that hoarding goods needed for a sustainable life is the only way to stave off our hunger, we share. Rather than reifying the attitude that only by greater destructive power can we save the world from the violence wrought by enemies, we love and sacrifice.
The original enemy was this sibling rivalry. Hope comes from the prince of peace who was born to heal, to share, to forgive and love his enemy, even at the cost of his own life. Few of us will ever have to share a bit of bread, a few dollars of income, that is life-threatening. Yet all of us Jesus-followers are called to let go of our lives.
“For those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake,
and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
Mark 8: 35

You probably made a resolution that involves letting go of something. Don’t give up. Letting go is a spiritual discipline. Add to your resolve the prayer of hope, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4: 13 This prayer glorifyies God in all things, and proclaims the gospel in all circumstances. Here’s Paul’s situation:

“I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me but had no opportunity to show it. Not that I am referring to being in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.” Phil 4: 10-12

Can we who follow the Savior learn to be content with less so that others can survive, thrive, with a more? Rejoice—with Christ all things are possible. Rejoice, never giving up, never giving in, never giving out,1 but striving forward with the gospel of peace.
Peace of Christ to you, with you, within you,
1 paraphrasing The Honorable John Lewis 
Images: “Gaza-boys-fenced-in” by AlphaBetaUnlimited is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. ; “Peace on Selby Avenue” by sarahkarnas is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


Fresh Wind

May 25, 2023
Today is the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Can you breathe any better today than the 3 years and 1 day ago?
Perhaps you are offended by the way people have used the Christian name to pronounce a white nationalist agenda, or any number of dehumanizing paths of bigotry, misogyny, heterosexism, and hatred. Perhaps you can’t find a spiritual space to breathe, to find hope that faith in something greater than ourselves is present and at work to bring peace and abundant life for all. It that is you, you are waiting on the Wind. That is, you are waiting on a life-giving breath of fresh air.
Perhaps you are looking for something other than “traditional” church-life. Check out this innovative pastor (who happens to be a friend of mine), Marthame Sanders. His podcast church is called aijcast: art inspiration justice. In his words, “we explore the connections between the artist and their art, their sources of and hopes for inspiration, and how it all tries to make the world a better place.”
If you need places that touch your spirit through art or music, this might be the place.
His church just might help you breathe and work for a better world.
And join St. Andrew online or in-person on Sundays, 10:00 a.m eastern, as we, too, seek fresh winds of the Holy creating a space where everybody belongs, and can breathe.