There’s hope as in “I hope so” or “We’re hoping and praying” and then there’s ultimate hope, the kind that’s linked with faith and love.  This hope is not a temporary or quick, no-pain fix. Nor is it “pie in the sky bye & bye.” No, as N.T. Wright explains, our hope is God’s kingdom coming on earth as in heaven (as we pray in The Lord’s Prayer), the resurrection of the body and life everlasting (as we affirm in The Apostles’ Creed). All this begins here and now because Jesus is alive in us by the Holy Spirit.

Signs of Hope are everywhere. Here’s one from Parker Palmer of the Center for Courage and Renewal:

The Civil Rights Pilgrimage had many memorable moments. En route to the airport, Rep. John Lewis told about being severely beaten by some young white men at a bus station, left in a pool of blood. Forty years later, one of those men came to D.C. to ask Lewis’s forgiveness, which was given amid hugs & tears. The Congressman paused, then said quietly, “People can change.” This gives me hope, for others and for myself…

Thousands of websites, movements and agencies use “Hope” in their name. One is the Center of Hope in Dalaba, Guinea, West Africa, where my sister Joyce and her husband work with Christian Reformed World Missions. Another is Healthy Options for People and the Earth (H.O.P.E.) in Houston, British Columbia, Canada. These endeavors are based on ultimate hope. They are fragile because of “principalities and powers” yet solid because of God’s promise: “you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

As I send out another blog this week I pray lines from Psalm 25: “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame…. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long…. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.”

In the words of hymn-writer Georgia Harkness I pray: “Hope of the world, thou Christ of great compassion, speak to our fearful hearts by conflict rent. Save us thy people from consuming passion, who by our own false hopes and aims are spent.”

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