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Week 1, Saturday:  Hope

Benjamin Bristow

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The Hope Jesus Offers

Jesus always speaks about hope. And this hope is different from optimism. Jesus is not the optimist. He is not a pessimist. Optimism arranges reality in a way that enables us to say things will get better. Pessimism arranges the same reality so that we can say things will probably get worse.

When it rains, the optimist says, "How wonderful! Things will grow." Seeing the same rain, the pessimist says, "Everything will drown." Being neither an optimist nor a pessimist, Jesus speaks about the hope that is not based on chances that things will get better or worse. His hope is built upon the promise that, whatever happens, God will stay with us at all times, in all places.

God is the God of life. As His followers, we are called to be people of hope and to build communities of hope in a world where the options are usually confined to a limited optimism or an unlimited pessimism. To do that we must enter the tomb from which Jesus speaks to us about hope. We need to enter into that tomb. This means honestly facing the despair we are dealing with in the world today. We cannot go around despair to hope. We have to go right through despair. We will never know what hope is until we have tasted real despair of this world in order to have an inkling of the hope that Jesus offers to us.

Today's Scripture Readings*
[Psalm 20-21:1-14] [Amos 5:18-27] [Jude 17-25] [Matt 22:15-22]


Dear Lord,

Amid my turmoil, my mind is not able to concentrate on You, my heart is not able to remain centered, and it seems as if You're absent and have left me alone. But in faith and Hope I cling to You. I believe that Your Spirit reaches deeper and further than my mind or heart, and that profound movements are not the first to be noticed. I promise I will not run away, not give up, not stop praying, even when it all seems useless. I love You even though I don't always feel loved by You, and I HOPE in You even though I may sometimes feel despair. Let this be a little dying I can do with You and for you as a way of experiencing togetherness with millions in this world who suffer far more than I do.

Amen.

~ Benjamin Bristow
Bossier City, Louisiana, USA

 

*These readings are adapted from the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer, Year 2.  For Year 1 readings, see Daily Readings, Advent 1.

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