Finding Hope

Dear Friends,

We have a new/old government in NSW! Hip, hip….!?

It has been fascinating to watch the wash up of the NSW State election. Many people are breathing a sign of relief and others, like my friend over lunch today, were shaking their head in disbelief; “how did Gladys do that?” Either way, it appeared to me throughout the week that although we carry a very healthy level of cynicism about government in this country, we also expect much of them. We place a lot of Hope in government. I want to declare that this hope is misplaced. If you think government is going to solve all the world’s issues you either misunderstand the world’s issues or are slightly crazy.

I read in Proverbs 11:7 this week:

Hopes placed in mortals die with them;
    all the promise of their power comes to nothing.

Daniel Migliore in his book “Faith Seeking Understanding”, writes that the Christian faith is an expectant or hope-filled faith. It eagerly awaits the completion of the creative and redemptive activity of God. In the language of Scripture and Apostles’ Creed, Christians hope and pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom (Matt 6:10), for the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting, for a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21:1) and for the final triumph of God over death and mourning, crying and pain and all the forces of evil (Rev 21:1-4).

Can you see the difference between earthly hopes and heavenly ones? Christian hope is not limited to the fulfillment of the individual life. Christian hope is not limited to fulfillment in this life. Christian hope is not limited by suffering.

Christian hope insists that personal and communal fulfillment are inseparable and that life now prepares us for life eternal. Christians thus work and hope for the transformation of life in community. When by grace we rise above our own egocentricity, we realise that there can be no real life outside of relationships with others and that following Jesus must transform those relationships as much as it transforms ourselves.

From the cross flows love, forgiveness, reconciliation and partnership. These things do not terminate in the Christian person’s mind or heart. They must flow forth like a transforming stream that will impact everyone and everything around us. They must flow in such a way as to create an eternal impact as Jesus is shared with all those around us.

Additionally, as we live in this hope, there is no guarantee of quick or easy success. Christian hope remembers that Christ was crucified, that he suffered and that he did so willingly. It is in this sense that Christian hope takes a truly cruciform shape.

So who or what do you hope in? Are your hopes small, temporal and individual? Are they big, eternal and communal? Are they earthly or are they enduring forever?

In Partnership for God’s Glory