Bishop's Letter: 4 Weeks of Hope
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those says Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is name by which it will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness." —Jeremiah 33:14-16
The days are surely coming. This week we begin a season of waiting and anticipation. 4 weeks to prepare ourselves and get ready. Waiting for promises to be realized. 4 weeks of hope.
We live in a world where justice and righteousness are not always present. But hope grows in the soil of possibilities with God, not the dirt of life’s present circumstances. Hope is the deep conviction that God is working powerfully in our lives and in the world. It is not based on what we can do or see. Hope is anchored in the faithfulness of God.
And what we, as people of faith, know about hope from God is that it thrives especially well where the evidence seems to be mounting against us. We know something is coming, though we do not know how, who, or what.
Hope is what keeps an ALS patient going when the neurologist has thrown every drug or treatment at the disease, only to find that it still progresses.
Hope is what propels you forward when a relationship ends and you wonder if you'll ever find love again.
Hope is believing in your child with every fiber of your love, even in their absence of his or her good judgment
Hope is showing up as community for worship, earnestly praying and listening for God’s leading and guiding even when evidence might seem to indicate that peace on earth goodwill to all does not seem attainable.
Hope trusts that God holds the future and God’s word will not return empty.
In our best moments as people claimed by Christ we don’t place our ultimate hope in the human spirit, human persistence or even human goodness. True hope comes from the outside.
This advent season, where are you claiming hope in the Lord? Where would you like to see more peace and justice? Where can you make the world just a little more just?
The days are surely coming. Come, Lord Jesus.
The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer
Grand Canyon Synod of the ELCA