Monday, September 20, 2010

Fighting Words.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Poor hope. We treat hope as a commonplace, as in 'I hope it doesn't rain'. Or we use it as a less than graceful adverb to ward off any number of mundane boogeymen: ('hopefully'). After the general election of 2008, some of us never wanted to hear the word 'hope' again, embodied as it was in the wishful thinking of millions who were destined to be disappointed in any earthly prince, not only this particular one.

Let's forget all that and recognize hope for what it can be: our personal Maglite in this world of troubles.When our power is out and we are frozen with foreboding, hope is the beacon that gets us safely through the alley, the woods, the basement, any of the prisons we find ourselves in. Emily Dickinson called hope, 'the thing with feathers', giving it the power to lift us from doldrums great and small. Paul gives hope greater weight, calling it 'an anchor of the soul.' Whether hope is a fluttering thing lifting us up or our ballast against stormy waves, we should seek our hope and work to hope, knowing it a part of the great triad of the Christian heart, 'faith, hope, and love.' Hope is not flippant, not superficial, not skin deep, not easy to accomplish. Another verse of Hebrews links faith with hope, assurance and conviction; all weighty rock solid terms.

Hope yields nothing to worry. Hope is the antonym to despair. We don't have to be Pollyannas; that belies the state of humankind. We aren't owed the results we hope and pray for. But we owe our faith and future the effort it takes to hope.

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