May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! On account of his vast mercy, he has given us new birth. You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You have a pure and enduring inheritance that cannot perish—an inheritance that is presently kept safe in heaven for you. Through his faithfulness, you are guarded by God’s power so that you can receive the salvation he is ready to reveal in the last time. -1 Peter 1:3-5
Church historian David Fitch says people became Christians in the 1950’s because of the need for moral certainty. Now, he writes, people become Christians to combat hopelessness. There is certainly enough hopelessness to go around to make that statement plausible. It seems everyone thinks the world is only getting worse, not better. Climate change, wars, financial corruption, skyrocketing gun violence, in the U.S.: the bad news keeps on coming. In our personal lives, it may be disease, or joblessness, or depression that weighs us down with hopelessness.
In the midst of all of that, Christians lit the candle of Hope on our first Sunday in Advent yesterday. We are convinced that the best is yet to be, that God is not finished with us yet, and that the reign of love is a-coming. It’s not just that we are a glass-half-full kind of people, it’s that we read the Bible and find it facing us forwards, every time. Not because technology keeps improving, or medical research is saving more lives each year, or the carbon emissions from China are decreasing. Though all of this is good news, our hope stems from nothing less than our belief that God is saving the world, today, and tomorrow. By saving, we mean, making all of creation whole, healed, restored, well! Again!
Rejoice, then, and be on the side of hope, for that is God’s side of things. Cast your lot with hope, and be glad, in the midst of it all. Look for what God is doing and see how you can join in!