Sunday, April 8, 2007


I wonder this day about the gift we know as hope. I've been pondering the notion that good Friday is more akin to a 'glass is half empty' kind of perspective than an Easter as a 'glass half full'. I guess one of the challenges that I'm often faced with is trying to use limited words and images to describe a profound and unlimited reality...God and hope. As we are so entrenched in our world and constantly aware of the deep brokenness that exists in and around everywhere we turn, how is it that we can speak of hope? Is hope some empty wish that helps us, for at least a moment, to escape the sober reality of today?

Recently I read an interesting twist on the notion of hope suggesting that life is not meant to be lived as constant happiness but confident sadness. I like this. I like this idea that hope is realistic by allowing the glass to remain half empty, void, but suggesting that it's not the totality of all that exists in the glass, perhaps even beyond the glass. It seems to me that the promise of Easter lies in the idea of looking at life, in all its brokenness, and still seeing it as worthy to be cared for, sustained, loved, held. What if the reality of hope was more about a place of knowingly being held by God than an attempt to hold on to God in all our sophisticated theological notions of God?

Jesus breaking free from the tomb maybe gives us a glimpse into the idea that nothing keeps God bound up, nothing ultimately keeps God held down. Perhaps the hope of Easter is not even my hope to begin with, as if it only belongs to me like my car or house or computer. That Jesus comes back again maybe speaks to the sense that humanity is never left behind and that in many ways, like a friend we never expected to see again, who shows up and around, we are brought to a place, a new place, of understanding, of being known and loved and held for the pure worth of who God says that we are, not for what we can achieve, but primarily because of who we are for God. Perhaps the hope of which we speak about in Easter is not really ours to begin with, but truly and deeply God's. It is God's Easter hope. Perhaps it is God's hope that we at times get glimpses to see, experience and sometimes even to know. And perhaps, it is enough to say that God's hope for humanity and all creation exists because God chooses to come back to us, to live with us and through us, and to hold us along our way. Maybe God's hope is embodied rather than described.

Dear Jesus, I'm not sure I understand this 'hope' thing, but I'm really trying. I'm beginning to get a sense that maybe you do and that somehow I'm supposed to be a part of it. Help me not so much to hold on to hope, as to learn to be grasped by it, in whatever way that may look, feel and be experienced in and through my life. Amen.


tamie said...

dear dave,

i cannot imagine what excuse you could possibly have for not posting for 10 days. the fact that you've got a family, lots of committments, and a full-time job is NO EXCUSE! in the meantime, please check out my brother's wonderful (new) blog, and specifically this post on community:
hope to hear from you soon, pal!

Sherwood said...

Dear Dave,

I think there is a difference between hope and optimism and between the hope you are talking about and "hope" as it is often thought of today. The optimist thinks that something better will come almost automatically because that is the way things are ordered or because of a belief in humanity or knowledge or something. The hope you are talking about is grounded in the action of God and breaks into our life in radical and unexpected ways. For example, Easter!

Furthermore, "hope" today has often been identified with a yearning for something but not necessarily that it will come to pass. I can hope that an ill person will return to health or that war will cease and true justice prevail. I can hope that travelers will have a safe journey. I can share some of those hopes with God. I can attempt to promote peace and justice. But I can neither guarantee those outcomes nor can I necessarily stake my life on them.

The hope you are talking about has to do with the integrity of God and the intent of God for the Creation. This is a hope that is grounded in trust of God and is a foundation for thinking and acting. Thus Easter isn't just about something that happened in the case of Jesus or something that pertains only to individuals, but about a very radical commitment of God to renewal of all the Creation. That is the hope I try to live in and lean into in the midst of a community of faith.

dave said...

nice words sherwood. thank you.